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SOUTH AFRICA: TV ad delivers silent HIV message


Photo: Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa
The ad uses sign language to convey information about HIV
JOHANNESBURG, 10 November 2009 (PlusNews) - A television advertisement that will air in South Africa in November aims to reach deaf people with vital information about how to protect themselves from HIV, while giving hearing South Africans a brief experience of a world without sound.

A recent survey by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) found that 14 percent of disabled respondents were living with HIV, but levels of knowledge about HIV were much lower than among other groups: only 21 percent had an accurate understanding of how the virus was transmitted, and just 20 percent knew their HIV status.

The silent one-minute ad features Eric Mahamba, a member of the Deaf Federation of South Africa, who uses sign language to communicate the dangers of having unprotected sex with multiple and overlapping partners. Subtitles ensure that the message is not lost on other viewers.

"There is a new man in South Africa; a man who chooses a single partner over multiple chances with HIV," Mahamba signs. "A man whose self-worth is not determined by the number of women he can have."

According to the HSRC survey, 14 percent of disabled people reported having multiple and concurrent partners, a practice identified in recent research as one of the most risky behaviours for contracting HIV.

The commercial was created by Brothers for Life, a national campaign aimed at encouraging men to positively influence each other on issues relating to HIV, gender-based violence and male sexual and reproductive health.

"We saw from the survey that they are a vulnerable group, but not many campaigns have targeted them in the past," said Richard Delate, country programme director of Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa, which is leading the Brothers for Life campaign funded by USAID and a number of local partners.

Brothers for Life is also issuing a brochure in Braille to reach South Africa's blind population with information about HIV prevention.

ks/he


Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (PLUSNEWS) Prevention - PlusNews

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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