HIV/AIDS messages in Malawi and their implications for effective responses

  • Vanessa Houston Department of Geography, Hutt Building, Room 346, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada
  • Alice Hovorka Department of Geography, Hutt Building, Room 346, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada
Keywords: behaviour change, country programmes, decentralisation, decision-making, HIV prevention, health education, information dissemination, information networks, multi-sectoral collaboration, southern Africa

Abstract

This paper explores the nature of HIV/AIDS education and information networks in Malawi, with a focus on Dedza district. We consider the role of institutional and personal actors involved in Malawi's recently instated and decentralised behaviour-change intervention strategy, as well as the form and function of interpersonal social networks that mediate this information. The research reveals that the organisational capacity of actors and the conflicting messages regarding promotion of condom use may prevent Malawi from achieving a coordinated and effective decentralised response to the HIV epidemic. The research shows that individuals draw on complex interpersonal social networks, often processing mixed messages regarding HIV prevention strategies and receiving negative messages regarding condom use. The paper discusses the implications of such inconsistencies and conflicts with actors, interpersonal social networks and the nature of the messages themselves for HIV/AIDS education in Malawi.

African Journal of AIDS Research 2007, 6(3): 205–214
Published
2007-12-11
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445