AIDS: A Communication Perspective

AIDS: A Communication Perspective

AIDS: A Communication Perspective

AIDS: A Communication Perspective

Synopsis

Prevention through appropriate behavior is the best weapon available to fight further spread of HIV infection. However, individuals take necessary actions to prevent diseases such as AIDS only when they are properly informed and they feel motivated to respond to the information they possess. In order to achieve a clearer understanding of these two facets of the prevention process, this book examines the interplay of the messages individuals receive about AIDS at the public level and the messages exchanged between individuals at the interpersonal level.

The specific purpose of the book is to provide a theoretical and conceptual foundation for understanding the pragmatic concerns related to the AIDS crisis in the United States and other parts of the world. The book represents the first systematic examination of how theory informs our understanding of AIDS and communication processes. Contributors explore the issues from a variety of theoretical and conceptual viewpoints. Their goal is to stimulate thought which will lead to the pragmatic application of the ideas presented.

The chapters focus on four general communication concerns:

• interpersonal interaction as it relates to choices individuals make about safer sex practices,

• theory and practice of public campaigns about AIDS,

• intercultural issues, and

• critical and descriptive approaches for understanding news coverage of AIDS.

Excerpt

As the number of aids cases multiplied throughout the early and mid- 1980s, it became apparent that no cure or vaccine was on the horizon. Prevention through appropriate behavior was, and still is, the best weapon available to fight further spread of hiv infection. However, individuals take necessary actions to prevent a disease such as aids only when (a) they are properly informed and (b) they feel motivated to respond to the information they possess. in order to achieve a clearer understanding of these two facets of the prevention process, we must examine the interplay of the messages individuals receive about aids at the public level and the messages exchanged between individuals at the interpersonal level.

In November 1987 at the Speech Communication Association conference in Boston, Professors Robert Norton and Jim Hughey organized a small, informal meeting of researchers interested in communication issues related to aids. Since that time, a growing number of communication scholars have developed research tracks devoted to aids concerns. in order to encourage the exchange of ideas and to disseminate research results, a variety of forums developed. For example, the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association sponsored an aids mini-conference in New Orleans in 1988. Special issues of aids and Public Policy Journal and Communication Research provided outlets for AIDS-related research in 1989 and 1990 respectively. and in November 1991a team of communication scholars was invited to the . . .

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