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Treating Taboo: HIV/AIDS and Media Campaigns

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ritasha s

on 20 May 2016

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Transcript of Treating Taboo: HIV/AIDS and Media Campaigns

Treating Taboo: HIV/AIDS and Media Campaigns

Ritasha Sharma and Shamshad Khan, Department of Communication, University of Texas at San Antonio
May 20, 2016

Background and Objective
According to World Health Organization, women constitute about half of the adult population living with HIV worldwide (17.4 million).
Televised PSAs have been one of the main sources of spreading awareness around HIV
Started as a critical review of the (under)representation of one of the high risk groups-FSWs
However, reviewing the PSAs, we found that women as a group were (under/mis)represented.
The objective of the research was to study the gender dimension reflected through the PSA campaigns related to HIV
Some previous research
Jesmin, Chaudhuri & Abdullah (2013) found that there was a positive relation between mass media and “hearing” about HIV
Rajiv (1997) points out how PSAs try to be "politically correct" hence sometimes giving rise to stigma.
Enough information is being provided about HIV, what should change is how it is being communicated (Labra, 2015).
Questions Raised
How are women being represented?

Does it have any implications?
Critical analysis was done to evaluate HIV/AIDS PSAs.
Most recent PSA campaigns from India and Bangladesh were selected -- 15 from India and 7 from Bangladesh
First, evaluated to identify the larger categories and elements of PSAs such as- target audience, rationale, requirements etc.
Thereafter, latent themes from the PSAs were identified, these themes might even escape those involved in planning and designing these PSAs.
For the purpose of today's presentation, we present findings from PSAs most representative of behavioral change category that go on to demonstrate our point.

The behavior change oriented PSAs, calling for safe sex and condom use, hardly involve women as an equal partner.
Brief look at the PSAs
Bangladesh-Shakib Al Hassan a Bangladeshi sportsman narrates in simple, straightforward manner to be aware of HIV and prevent AIDS.
India-The protagonist is taking part in “kabaddi” sport, where instead of using kabaddi he uses the word condom. The opposition objects, but fails to justify because they feel embarrassed in saying the word condom. After which the protagonist announces that “Be a man, and talk openly (about condom)”
Aarts & Smith (2005) argue that subliminal messages tend to affect both “social judgments and overt behavior”.
Understandably, the condom-centric PSAs are aimed towards the male population, however, these PSAs were broadcasted on TV; hence one cannot control the viewers, i.e. those who watch these PSAs
Even while trying to reach male audience, using highly male-centric approach may lead to unintended consequences (such as perpetuation of patriarchy)
The purpose of the analysis is not to undermine the PSA advertisements but to deconstruct and find what other subliminal messages can be taken from viewing the videos over and over again
Language barrier
Number of PSAs

Even with these limitations our research can provide some guide to future studies into subliminal and hidden messages in PSA campaigns and its effects.
Additionally, with the internet becoming an alternative source of information, where messages can be viewed over and over again; there is constant need to check the information that can be received.

Therefore, it is necessary to carefully analyze the messages, both manifest and latent that are being communicated through PSAs.
Full transcript