The role of communication in the fight against HIV and AIDS in construction

Theo Haupt, Meenakshi Munshi, John Smallwood


The only viable means of countering the spread of new HIV infections is sexual behavior change. It has been argued that the content of behavior preventionprograms should include basic, accurate information on risk that is communicated repetitively and intensively in forums that promote open discussion andparticipant involvement. Therefore, effective HIV(The Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS communication involves providing relevant and meaningfulinformation accurately, consistently, reiteratively, and repetitively using multiple methods, mediaums, and languages, including vernacular, that build onprevious HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) knowledge while at the same time recognizing the differing personal backgrounds ofworkers in an environment conducive to open an uninhibited interaction. Drawing from anecdotal evidence gathered during a series of national multistakeholderworkshops as well as the findings of knowledge, attitude and behavior (KAB) surveys of two samples, namely a sample of 300 constructionworkers in South Africa and another of 400 workers in Namibia, the authors argue for greater involvement of construction employers in structured managementled and targeted HIV and AIDS communication programs designed to influence sexual behavior. Considering that television and radio were the most popularand influential mass mediaums of communication, employers are encouraged to support, reinforce and complement HIV and AIDS campaigns and messagesvia these mediaums as part of primary health promotion programs. The authors recommend that employers create opportunities for HIV and AIDS educationof workers by their peers.


communication; HIV; AIDS; media; behavior change


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