Notes to broadcasters: HIV and AIDS

    | December 2, 2013

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    December 1 is the United Nations World AIDS Day. For more information and materials related to the Day, please go to the UNAIDS website through this link: Further information is available through the World Health Organization website:

    To read the original article on which one of this week’s stories is based, Why fish farming can help people living with HIV in Liberia, please visit the Guardian’s website:

    More information about HIV can be found though the MedicinePlus page, which is a service of the US Library of Medicine: The relationship between religion and HIV/AIDS is complicated, and often fraught with controversy. There is a Wikipedia page dedicated to how some religions deal with the subject:

    The UN produces some useful factsheets on HIV and AIDS, for example: (on preventing mother to child transmission)

    This site provides lots of information on HIV and AIDS in Africa:

    In a previous Resource section, FRW highlighted a manual for reporting on HIV and AIDS in Africa:

    Here you will find a link to a radio drama for young people on HIV prevention, available in English and French:

    Farm Radio Weekly has published these stories related to HIV:

    HIV-positive widow raises pigs to improve income and health:

    Local food and its usefulness for HIV positive people:

    HIV positive women grow mushrooms:

    Farm Radio International has produced a number of scripts on HIV and AIDS. Topics covered include gender, youth, prevention, and good nutrition. You can start by reading through FRRP #73, HIV/AIDS and Food Security, available here: There are many more scripts available through this link:

    In spite of vigorous campaigns to contain the epidemic, HIV continues to spread. FRRP #93 contains the script AIDS support group gives positive people a new lease on life! which can be found here:

    Quiz show: Questions and Answers About HIV/AIDS (FRRP #62, script #3, January 2002) may prove to be an interesting way to get basic facts about HIV and AIDS to your listeners. Read it here:

    There are Notes to broadcasters on HIV and AIDS and nutrition (FRW #169, August 2011) available here: )

    World AIDS Day may inspire broadcasters to produce programs or hold activities to mark the day. We would love to hear about your events, and will share them in Farm Radio Weekly. Meanwhile, the following section provides advice and ideas on creating programs that deal with HIV and AIDS, and important messages that your programs can pass on:

    Program Planning
    Involve people living with HIV and AIDS in your broadcasts. Encourage them to tell their stories on the radio. Withhold their identity if they prefer to remain anonymous.

    Remember that media itself can stigmatize people living with HIV and AIDS, and try to avoid this pitfall. For example, radio has a responsibility to notify the public that HIV and AIDS is not a punishment for bad behaviour!

    Work with health professionals when preparing programs about the health aspects of HIV and AIDS. You need reliable sources in order to disseminate useful broadcasts and to avoid spreading misinformation.

    Work with NGOs to amplify their work and yours. In particular, identify and work with traditional theatre and other groups that use effective ways to reach local people. Dramatizations are most effective when they are followed by a discussion or a call-in show.

    Get support from upper management. Explain to supervisors that radio programming can save people’s lives, that there has never been a challenge like HIV before, and that no country can afford to ignore it.

    Be bold in taking risks and pushing limits. There is a natural shyness when it comes to talking about sexual relations. But it is impossible to deal effectively with HIV and AIDS without discussing sex openly and frankly. You might take a little heat, but remember that what you are doing is saving lives. In too many places, a conspiracy of silence has allowed HIV to infect and kill millions, and impact every aspect of human life.

    Involve youth. Young people are one of the hardest groups to reach. No one can communicate with young people better than young people themselves. Give them basic radio production skills and encourage them to develop their own programming. Their programs will be more interesting and attractive to young people.

    Involve adults when you develop programs for young people Form an advisory committee of parents and community leaders, including religious leaders. This will reduce the chances of strong opposition to the programs.