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Youth have a new attitude on AIDS, but are they talking about it?

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In advocating HIV prevention, organisations such as loveLife in South Africa have increasingly used the media to encourage communication and influence behaviour change in youth. Our study examined youths' understanding and communication habits surrounding loveLife's extensive 'Get Attitude' print campaign. Intrigued by the ambiguous campaign message, we implemented a questionnaire-based study in three urban KwaZulu-Natal schools to investigate how youth are interpreting the images and to determine whether they would connect the personality-aimed message with HIV prevention. As communication is a focal point of loveLife's strategy, we looked at whether the campaign was successful in fostering discussion and examined what factors contributed to or impeded dialogue. One-hundred-and-eighty-seven Grade 11 students completed the questionnaire, responding to both multiple-choice and free-response questions about the 'Get Attitude' campaign images. Our study was largely exploratory, with the data revealing that the youth did interpret the images as intended by loveLife. While the campaign failed to stimulate discussion for many of the youth, those who did talk about the campaign were more likely to speak to their teachers than to parents or friends.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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