World Health & Population
The Mass Media and HIV/AIDS Prevention in Ghana
The study uses logistic regression to examine how exposure to HIV/AIDS information in the mass media influences knowledge of the disease and risk behaviours in Ghana, a West African country at a relatively early stage of the epidemic. It finds that mass media exposure increases awareness of partner fidelity, condom use and avoidance of parenteral threats as ways of preventing infection and promotes condom use and partner fidelity as likely behavioural responses to the epidemic. Exposure to multiple channels reinforces media messages about safe sex and HIV/AIDS. Radio media seem to be the most powerful sources of information about the epidemic. They reach more people than television and print media and have larger effects on individuals' knowledge base and behaviour. However, the mass media influence has limits. Mass media exposure has no impacts on awareness and interest in abstinence and avoidance of commercial sex which means that they fail to address the needs of the poor women and the young who are the core sources of infection in the Ghanaian epidemic. I speculate that the structure of mass media effects observed may suggest that the national response to the campaign has been driven as much by political exigencies as by the logic of epidemiology.
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