Stories Aim to Promote ‘Safe Sex’

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By Surihe Gaomas

WINDHOEK

In an effort to reach more Namibians with HIV and AIDS prevention messages, the Take Control Media Campaign under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has formed partnerships with various media institutions.

The partnership will see the two parties working together on the production of informative stories that will promote safer and better relationships.

Since the Take Control HIV and AIDS media campaign was launched in 1999, the line ministry together with its development partners have scored some success.

Not only has the brand name “Safe Sex Saves Lives” become to be recognised in public, but the use of condoms is also rising.

Between 2004 and 2006, these successes were emulated under the “Be Your Own Hero” theme drive that has led to a multi-faceted national response towards HIV.

Namibians from all walks of life have rallied around the theme and shared their personal experiences through the campaign.

“As much as we talk about HIV and AIDS, we tend only to hear or read about the rising figures of those living positively with the virus. It is known that officially one in five Namibians is HIV positive. But what does this actually mean on the ground?”

The Take Control media campaign brings out the humanity behind the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

Speaking with journalists at a recent introductory event about the campaign, Media Manager of NawaLife Trust Bastian Schwarz said the time has come to write HIV and AIDS stories in a more interesting and captivating manner.

“Take Control would like to team up with your institution to bring campaign messages to its audience in an entertaining and educating manner, to essentially promote greater debate and discussion,” said Schwarz.

This time around the focus is on safer and better relationships, which will be conducted between 2007 and 2008.

HIV-risk behaviour is closely linked to the way people conduct their relationships with those closest to them.

For instance, there is a tendency of not using condoms with a steady partner and there are also alarming levels of cheating and unfaithfulness where a person ends up with more than one partner or multiple partners.

Added to this is the lack of social support within families for those that are living positively with HIV.

Schwarz explained that the Take Control campaign will attempt to bring all these out into the open, by strengthening prevention in HIV and AIDS.

This preventative role will be based on the five characteristics of a good and functioning relationship, namely, respect, communication, honesty and trust, responsibility, care and support.

The campaign will be run under the slogan “Be There to Care,” and is supported by a wide variety of partners in the national response campaign.

The Take Control media campaign is recognized in the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS as part of Government’s national HIV and AIDS campaign, which relies heavily on involvement and support from partners.

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