The Role of ict in Halting and Preventing the Spread of hiv/aids



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The Role of ICT in Halting and Preventing the Spread of HIV/AIDS


By Laura Wilder


Recent development discourse has recognised the need to both contain and control the spread of HIV/AIDS across many poverty stricken countries. In 2000, as part of the developed world’s initiative to eradicate poverty the UN outlined eight different goals that needed to be met in order for poorer countries to develop, they were named the ‘millennium development goals’1. The sixth goal was concerned with ‘Combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases’. Although Malaria and other diseases arguably receive a lot less attention from scholars than the HIV/AIDS epidemic does it is arguable justifiable considering that nearly 40 million people in the world suffer from HIV/AIDS and the annual infection rate for 2004 was nearly 5 million2. The following articles from a range of different sources are all related to the role ICT has or may have in helping fulfil to the Millennium development goal of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. ICT is helping disseminate information more rapidly across marginalized areas of the world through the mediums of radio, television and the World Wide Web. Although marginalized peoples are now able to access a large number of sources providing accurate information regarding the disease they are equally now able to access a number of out of date or incorrect information as well. This means that the use of ICT to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is a contentious issue. I have recognised five main aspects/themes where ICT is used to try and fulfil the goal of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, these are: prevention, education, treatment, information and gender.



Prevention

Many of the articles found focused on this aspect of HIV/AIDS, this is probably due to the fact that HIV/AIDS cannot be cured and is fatal, and therefore it is of particular importance that the spread of the disease is combated by preventing people from catching the disease in the first place. The following articles outline various ICT initiatives throughout the developing world with the aim of preventing people from catching HIV/AIDS.



Reference

Medium Used3

Annotation

BBC (2005), ‘Caribbean HIV/AIDS radio spots’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/developmentcommunications/story/2005/08/printable/050822_caribbeanaidsspots.shtml, 22nd August (accessed 02.12.05)

Radio

This article discusses how the BBC World Trust along with the Kaiser network and Viacom have produced HIV/AIDS radio programmes to promote responsible sexual behaviour. The programmes, broadcasted via the BBC World Service and the intention is to lower the HIV/AIDS infection rate amongst the young, who are most sexually active. This collaboration is the first time 2 different media organisations and a health foundation has joined together to fight the disease. The programmes would perhaps be more useful to a greater variety of people if they were available in a variety of languages.

BBC (n.d.), ‘Angola: HIV and AIDS Radiospots’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/trust/developmentcommunications/story/2005/11/051129_angola-radiospots.shtml (accessed 02.12.05)

Radio

This article describes how the BBC’s world service program has conducted a series of focus groups on Angolan youth to find out whether or not radio programs can help to reduce the stigma surrounding HIVAIDS. The focus groups have allowed the world service to produce 16 different programs that run practically nation wide to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. The programs have also collaborated with Angolan celebrities such as footballers, who have spoken on the programs to hopefully make the programs more appealing to listen to. In order to prevent the marginalisation of certain groups within Angola the programs are to be broadcasted across the whole of Angola and translated into local languages.

Benotsch, E. G., Kalichman, S. and Weinhardt, L. S. (2004), ‘HIV-AIDS Patients’ Evaluation of Health Information on the Internet: The Digital Divide and Vulnerability to Fraudulent Claims’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, pp. 1002 – 1011

Internet

As briefly mentioned in the introduction of this bibliography HIV/AIDS patients are able to access a wealth of knowledge via the internet. Whilst enabling patient’s access to a wider range of information the internet also opens sufferers up to the possibility of obtaining mis-information, this study sort to assess the information available on the internet regarding HIV/AIDS. The results also revealed that those who are less literate are more susceptible to not recognising incorrect information. It also revealed that those socially and economically disadvantaged are also more likely to not be able to access the information of any description due to the so-called ‘digital divide’.

Bessinger, R., Katende, C. and Gupta, N. (2004), ‘Multi-media campaign exposure effects on knowledge and use of condoms for STI and HIV/AIDS prevention in Uganda’, Evaluation and Program Planning, 27 (4), pp. 397 – 407

Multi-media

This study, conducted in Uganda, used information from the 1997 and 1999 Delivery of Improved Services for Health (DISH) to examine whether or not HIV/AIDS prevention was being aided by the introduction of behaviour change communication (BCC) campaigns. It found that multi-media may be the most successful way of improving people’s sexual health knowledge especially in regards to the use of condoms as a way of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Jones, C. (1996), ‘AIDS in an Historical Perspective’, http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/Aids/index.html (last accessed 21.11.05) 

Radio

This website documents a two-part radio program that discusses the historical perspective of AIDS in relation to Syphilis.  It discusses how people’s responses to AIDS have been similar how they reacted to the Syphilis outbreak in the 1600’s. The purpose of the programs was to try and find out what approaches work best when dealing with the public’s perceptions of disease, especially ones that are classified as venereal diseases. This should then enable more appropriate responses to HIV/AIDS to be established.

Montazeri, A. (2005), ‘AIDS knowledge and attitudes in Iran: results from a population based survey in Tehran’, Patient Education and Counselling, 57, pp.199 – 203

TV and radio

The results of this survey carried out in Iran, revealed that the majority of people had positive attitudes towards those with HIV/AIDS. It also revealed that the most influential body informing these opinions were different mass medias including TV and radio. However it is likely that the results of this study were biased as the majority of those interviewed were married and educated perhaps neglecting to reflect the attitudes of those who did not fit into these categories. The method used to conduct this research; short questionnaires may also not have been the most appropriate one, as finding out the true attitudes of people is not very easy to do in a short space of time.

UNAIDS (2005), ‘Intensifying HIV Prevention’, UNAIDS Policy Position Paper, UNAIDS, Geneva

ICTs in general

This article gives a general overview of various initiatives that have been introduced as part of a program of ‘Intensifying HIV Prevention’. It mentions that as AIDS is a disease of the ‘information age’ its tools should be used to fight the epidemic. It argues that the key forces of spread are ‘denial, inaction, ignorance, stigma and discrimination’ but that all of them can be overcome with the introduction of communication technologies and utilising all forms of media. It argues that the key to success of ICT projects lies with the ability of projects to be informed by government policy and be respectful towards the different cultures that the disease is occurring in.

UNESCO (2004), ‘Latin American Students to be trained in Producing HIV/AIDS Prevention Messages’ http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=17328&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed 07.11.05)

Internet

Discusses how 20 Argentina schools will participate in a range of workshops as part of a ‘Youth Communication and HIV/AIDS Prevention’ project. Part of a larger young media space program that will allow the project to use its website too allow it to have regional dialogue. Will be available to all schools and crucially unlike many websites that contain knowledge for people the site will be translated (or translatable) to Portuguese as opposed to English, which most web pages are available in. The projects merits include being youth friendly, which should have lasting effects for the HIV/AIDS epidemic for years to come.

UNESCO (2004), ‘Workshop on AIDS Prevention in Bamako’ http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=16489&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed 07.11.05)

CD-Rom

This article discusses the impact that the first INFOYOUTH event in Mali’s capital Bamoko has had and talks about the relative merits of a CD-ROM that has been produced in conjunction with the event. Its purpose is to educate people about how to prevent them catching HIV/AIDS. The project has the aim of meeting the most marginalized of people like people in remote rural areas. The target audience for the project is young people in order for the CD-ROM to hopefully have as big an impact as possible on the future generations as possible.

UNESCO (2005), ‘UNESCO’s Response to HIV and AIDS’ at http://unescodoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001414 (last visited 25.10.05)

Tele-communications (ICTs in general)

UNESCO’s main focus is on preventing people from catching HIV/AIDS. The organisation does this using many diverse activities to encourage the development of ICT in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. One such initiative is a scheme aimed young people to help educate them on AIDS related issues using communication technologies, which promote awareness and understanding of AIDS related issues. It also plays an important role in education training teachers how to effectively teach through distance learning. Secondly the article outlines projects UNESCO runs to help media professionals portray the epidemic more accurately by sensitising the problem of HIV/AIDS.

UNESCO (2005), ‘Communication, Information and HIV/AIDS’, http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=17515&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed 12.11.05)

Internet

UNESCO provides funding for a variety of ICT related HIV/AIDS projects. The organizations approach to information and communication to help eradicate HIV/AIDS is split into prevention and treatment of the disease. In order to prevent people from catching HIV/AIDS UNESCO run a number of aggressive and awareness campaigns and in terms of treatment of the disease. UNESCO has undertaken a number of projects to train media professionals in how to report HIV/AIDS more accurately and effectively. This particular article provides links to various case studies, a review of each can be found in the rest of this table.

UNESCO (2005), ‘HIV/AIDS Media Training Starts in Cameroon’ http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=19425&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed 07.11.05)

Radio

Reviews a new initiative in Cameroon to train the media and others about the science behind the HIV/AIDS epidemic using ICT. The review looks at how community radio practitioners can be trained to use their radio slots to convey messages of awareness. It discusses the usual problems organizations have in trying to set up HIV/AIDS programs such as lack of finance and stigma attached to those with the disease then goes on to discuss how this project is overcoming them by using radio as a more appropriate ICT medium than the Internet. It discusses that unlike other projects that use ICT for this purpose, it has had relative successes at reaching those in rural communities due to it using the medium of radio.

UNESCO (2005), ‘Young TV producers network in Asia on HIV/AIDS’ http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=19775&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html (accessed 07.11.05)

Television

Reviews the work of 11 young documentary filmmakers from 8 different Asian countries on a film for VCCT (Voluntary Confidential Counselling and Testing) who met up for a workshop in New Delhi for training. Collaborations between UNESCO and AIBD (Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development) to enable quality TV programming on HIV/AIDS in the region. The films were to be put onto DVD format for wider publication.

USAID, hhtp://www.usaid.gov/our_work/economic_growth_and_trade/info_technology/approach/hivaids.html (last visited 25.10.05)

GIS technology and radio

Outlines how ICT is the key to fighting HIV/AIDS through various different channels. The article claims that the spread of HIV/AIDS can be combated using GIS technology to track and map the extent of the disease so that resources can be focused in most needed areas or areas that are potentially under threat. The article concentrates on measures that prevent people from catching HIV/AIDS using both the latest media technologies such as GIS surveillance as well as older more accessible technologies. The article uses the case study of a Malian radio station that has been successful in spreading preventative measures on HIV/AIDS.

Ward, D. (2001), ‘New Themes out of Africa’, Guardian, 11th September, accessed from http://education.guardian.co.uk/specialreports/btfuturetalk/story/0,,549729,00.html

Video-conferencing

This article discusses how Jeremy Atkinson, a deputy head teacher from a Manchester school, thought of the idea of introducing a video conferencing link between South African and British schools after visiting the country. It was hoped that the setting up of this ICT technology would allow pupils from the schools to have interactive PSHE lessons where they could compare their lives and discuss various PSHE topics. Two schools decided to focus their discussion of the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Jeremy Atkinson also helped to facilitate improvements in the provision of ICT equipment to some schools in the Pretoria region of South Africa through funding from the BT schools award package.

World Bank (2002), ‘Fighting HIV/AIDS through Strategic Communications’, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTDEVCOMMENG/Resources/dlcoursehivaids.pdf (accessed 04.12.05)

Tele-communications

This brief article discusses how the World Bank has implemented a program aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and preventing the spread of the disease. The project involved 5 African countries; Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia participating in the distance learning course through the Global Distance Learning Network. Its aim was to help NGO’s and health ministries operating in the countries by providing effective, strategic communication programs such as public service messaging broadcasts via radio and the television.

Education

One of the key themes that emerge when discussing how to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS is education. The disease has had a profound effect on the education systems of many developing countries with huge numbers of teachers being HIV positive in many countries where the disease is rife. Educating people how to have safe sex, as well as providing them with other information regarding the disease is one way in which the spread of the disease can be reduced.



Reference

Medium Used4

Annotation

BBC (n.d.), http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1112_mdg/page9.shtml (accessed 02.12.05)

Multi-media

This article discusses how Digital Dimension, a tri-media project run in Bangladesh is using ICTs to combat the all of the UN’s Millennium development goals1. It argues that everyone has the right to access information and that if the goals are to be met then the dissemination of that information must be done effectively.

DeGuzman, M. A, and Ross, M. W. (1999), ‘Assessing the application of HIV and AIDS related education and counselling on the Internet’, Patient and Education Counselling, 36, pp. 209 – 228

Internet

Although this study was carried out in the developed US state of Texas, it does reveal some interesting results from its study regarding the use of the internet for counselling HIV/AIDS sufferers. As is the case with most education and counselling initiatives in developing world this study found that those most of need of the services had the most problems accessing the internet and therefore the services. The overall results of the study did however suggest that counselling HIV/AIDS sufferers via the internet was worthy of additional development.

Dube, L. (2005), ‘Insights into the Diffusion of HIV/AIDS Information in Higher Education Institutions in South Africa’, The International Information and Library Review, pp. 315 – 327

ICTs in general

This article explores how information about HIV/AIDS is disseminated amongst higher education institutions in South Africa. The use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to find out this information ensured that the study was carried out accurately and thoroughly. The article also offered an interesting insight into the many difficulties associated with the diffusion of HIV/AIDS information, which includes the stigma surrounding the disease and the lack of resources available to implement information dissemination programmes. It also highlights how higher education institutes could pool together resources if they became networked and learned to communicate more effectively.

E-learning (n.d.), ‘1st Annual Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training’, www.elearning-africa.com/pdf/brochure/eLABrochure.pdf (last visited 01.11.05)

ICTs in general

This article explores how the concept of e-learning can help reduce the problem of a skills shortage in the health profession in Africa. It discusses how the HIV/AIDS epidemic has caused their to be a skills shortage due to many doctors and nurses falling susceptible to the disease and also how many nurses physically unaffected by the disease have not been trained in how to treat the disease. It highlights how cultural problems of disseminating information about the disease are failing to reach both victims of the disease and health care professionals who treat people with the disease. More specifically it suggests ways that the concept of e-learning can distribute quality HIV/AIDS information and provide ARV information to a wide range of people at relatively low cost.

UNAIDS (2000), ‘Innovative Approaches to HIV Prevention: Selected Case Studies’, UNAIDS, UNAIDS Best Practice Collection

Telephone-communications

This article outlines the results of two case studies from Egypt and South Africa that introduce telephone hotlines as a measure to educate and counsel people in HIV/AIDS. Although both boasted successes in introducing marginalized communities in a non-confrontational manner to counselling and education about AIDS, due to the different socio-economic climates in the two different countries, the success of the projects was more significant in Egypt than in South Africa. The huge extent of AIDS in South Africa meant that government-funding cut its budget to the project by 90% to concentrate on heterosexual prevention of HIV/AIDS as the phone line was set up to help homosexual sufferers of HIV/AIDS. In Egypt the project was successful and even allowed valuable demographic data to be compiled to help the government assess trends in the spread of the disease.

Unwin, T. (2004), ‘Towards a Framework for the use of ICT in Teacher Training in Africa’, Royal Holloway, University of London at http://www.gg.rhul.ac.uk/ict4d/ict%20tt%20africa.pdf

ICTs in general

This article examines the role of ICT in teacher training and education. The article is of relevance to HIV/AIDS since a report published in 2001 by the British Department for International Development (DFID) reported that in Zambia there are more people dying of AIDS/HIV than there are people being trained to be teachers. The report also made recommendations for every learning institute to become health literate especially in terms of combating HIV/AIDS.

Treatment


Anti-retroviral (ARV’s) drugs are used to treat the symptoms of HIV/AIDS. They do not cure people from the disease they simply make life more comfortable for the sufferers and most of the time prolong their life. It is therefore important that everyone across the world has access to these drugs, the following articles examines how various laws introduced to stimulate the research and development side of producing ARV’s are affecting access to the drugs by poor people.

Reference

Medium Used5

Annotation

Adams, R. (1994), ‘A New Online AIDS Database’, Newsweek, November 14th

Database technology

Adams discusses the relative merits of the US Patent and Trademarks Office introduction of a new online database for diagnostic and drug patent information.  The database was provided free for anyone wanting to access information about a drug’s patent status making the job of checking for patents easier. This helps those who are researching into new medicines and helps them know what drugs are already patented so that two different companies do not develop the same drugs.

Austin, J., Benotsch, E. G., Cherry, C., Kalichman, S. C., Luke, W. and Weinhardt, L. (2003), ‘Health Related Internet Use, Coping, Social Support and Health Indicators in People Living with HIV/AIDS: Preliminary Results from a Clinical Survey’, Health Psychology, 22, pp. 111 – 116

Internet

As there is no cure for HIV/AIDS one method of treating the disease is through counselling and social support. This collective examined the way in which the internet is providing this for people suffering from the disease. The results of the study found that using the internet to source information about their disease, had health benefits for people living with HIV/AIDS. It does however fails to mention in enough detail the many pitfalls that the internet has in providing information for people apart from the notion of the digital divide. It discusses how this must be addressed in order for the internet to be a viable and uniform source of information for all HIV/AIDS sufferers.

Avert (2005), ‘Providing drug treatment for millions’, http://www.avert.org/drugtreatment.htm (accessed 07.11.05)

ICTs in general

This article discusses how the TRIPS initiative is being overcome after lobbying from organisations to allow poverty stricken countries access to ARV’s at lower prices or access to generic versions of the drugs. The TRIPS initiative was introduced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to protect companies producing the drugs from having their medicines copied. It was meant as an incentive for further research and development into drugs including ARV’s that are used to treat some of the symptoms of HIV. It talks about the introduction in the reforms on the policy in August 2003, which allowed some of the world’s poorest countries to import ARV’s cheaply. Although the articles argument is that in reality this is very difficult for poor countries to implement.

Gómez, E. J., Cáceres, C., López, D. and Del Pozo, F. (2002), ‘A Web-based Self-Monitoring System for People Living with HIV/AIDS’, Computer Methods and Programmes in Biomedicine, 69, pp. 75 – 86

Internet

One way in which HIV/AIDS and other health issues can be treated is through telemedicine; this web-based self-monitoring programme is a form of this. In their commentary the authors discuss the relative merits of the system at its pilot stage. Although the programme is based in London, the success of it is important for developing countries as they may be able to adopt the programme and help people in their country suffering from the disease. If doctors are able to treat patients remotely it means that people in remote regions in poorer countries of the world can be treated for HIV/AIDS by leading experts based in another country providing that sufficient infrastructure is available.

Miles, N. (2005), ‘Texting to help SA HIV Patients’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4437447.stm (accessed 01.12.05)




South Africa has the largest number of people with HIV/AIDS in any country in the world, with 6 million people currently suffering from the disease. After a slow start the government is gradually beginning to introduce ARV treatment to the millions that are suffering from the disease. ARV treatment is however extremely complicated and needs to be taken accurately in order for it to work correctly. In order to help those that are having treatment counsellors have been given special mobile phones that keep track of treatment details of all the patients that are receiving the ARV’s. It is quicker and more reliable than using written notes to check if patients are using their medication correctly and due to the rapid expansion of the development of the technologies is available relatively cheaply.

I4D (2004), ‘Using Mobiles to Track HIV Treatment’, http://www.i4donline.net/news1.asp?fol_name=Health&file_name=hea20 (accessed 01.12.05)

Mobile phone technology

Vodacom a telecommunications company in South Africa has developed a project entitled Cell-life, which allows clinic workers to track how patients are getting on with their treatment for HIV/AIDS. It uses mobile phone technology and special software and data management systems developed especially for the project to recognise any life threatening behaviours to help treat those suffering from the disease. It is more efficient than taking notes about patients and reduces the burden on scarce health care professionals and resources.

Nurton, J. (2001), ‘Brazil Threatens Broche AIDS Patent’, Managing Intellectual Property, 112, pp. 5

ICTs in general

On August 23rd Brazilian health Minister Jose Serra declared Broches’ anti-AIDS drug Nelfinavir to be too expensive and threatened to use Brazilian law to force Broche to issue a compulsory licence on the drug in order to combat the problem of AIDS in Brazil, where 200,000 are affected.  This article illustrates problems and issues surrounding the use of patents on AIDS/HIV drugs, especially in less developed countries where governments can’t afford to provide citizens with the expensive drugs.  Nurton discusses the implications of such a Brazilian move by stating that there is a possibility that it will undermine the protection of international pharmaceutical products.

Oxfam (2001), ‘The Impact of Patent Rules on the Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Thailand’, Thailand Country Profile, Oxfam, Oxford

ICTs in general

This article is a case study of HIV/AIDS epidemic in Thailand. It outlines the seriousness of the problem in Thailand and how it is being exasperated by the introduction of stricter patent rules on ARV’s. Firstly the patent rules have increased the price of ARV’s, which means that the government is unable to supply ARV’s to the population, making them only affordable to the wealthy. In fact according to the article only 1% of the population suffering from HIV/AIDS can afford the drugs especially as they are not available through either public or private health care. However the patent rules are also affecting Thailand by preventing it from producing its own cheaper generic versions of ARV’s.

UNAIDS (1998), ‘Access to Drugs’, UNAIDS Technical Update, UNAIDS Best Practice Collection Pamphlets, UNAIDS, October

ICTs in general

This article examines how patent laws are preventing many people from accessing ARV’s to help with the symptoms of the HIV virus at affordable prices. This is largely due to patents being imposed on the drugs preventing cheaper generic copies being manufactured by generic companies. It examines the need for strategic alliances to be set up between the manufacturers of the ARV’s and smaller companies trying to produce generic copies of the drugs at lower prices.

UNAIDS (1998), ‘Access to Drugs’, UNAIDS Technical Update, UNAIDS Best Practice Collection Pamphlets, UNAIDS, October

ICTs in general

This article examines how patent laws are preventing many people from accessing ARV’s to help with the symptoms of the HIV virus at affordable prices. This is largely due to patents being imposed on the drugs preventing cheaper generic copies being manufactured by generic companies. It examines the need for strategic alliances to be set up between the manufacturers of the ARV’s and smaller companies trying to produce generic copies of the drugs at lower prices.

DFID (2004), ‘Access to Medicines in Under-Served’, DFID Health Systems Resource Centre

ICTs in general

In 1994 a World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights meant that there would be substantial changes to patent rules of anti-retroviral drugs (ARV’s) in order to stimulate the research and design aspects of ARV production. This DFID study reviews how the emerging changes will affect both producers and consumers in least-developed countries. The study widely suggested that despite an increase in public health demand for the ARV’s, access to them for the world’s poorest would reduce as a result of generic companies producing cheaper copies of the medicines, ceasing to be able to supply underserved markets. The report suggests a number of ways the negative effects the new legislation could be overcome including the introduction of an electronic searchable patent information bank by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to increase the producer’s patent knowledge.

Information


One of the key ways in which ICTs can help combat HIV/AIDS is by providing mediums to disseminate information effectively and efficiently and by providing platforms through which vital information can be stored about the disease.

Reference

Medium Used6

Annotation

BBC (2004), ‘Texts aim to Fight AIDS in Kenya’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4054475.stm (accessed 01.12.05)

Mobile technology

HIV/AIDS is a huge problem in Kenya, with over 2 million of its 32.4 million populations having the disease. In order disseminate information about HIV/AIDS to the countries population; the NGO, One World has launched a mobile phone text messaging service that sends daily tips to those who have signed up. The service also allows people to text in any questions about HIV/AIDS and to receive the answers via a text message back. Due to the stigma surrounding the disease many people do not want to go to clinics to ask someone face to face questions about HIV/AIDS so the text messaging service provides a discreet platform upon which this can be done.

Bezuidenhout, F. (n.d.), ‘HIV/AIDS: Information Management System’, http://www.i4donline.net/issue/march04/management.htm (Accessed 03.12.05)

Tele-communications

Bezuidenhout argues that one of the major problems of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is that different people in different places hold the vast range of information that has been collected about the disease. He argues that in order for the disease to be addressed efficiently a central information system containing information about the extent and treatment of the disease along with other relevant information should be held. He states that the current development of information and communication technologies makes this entirely possible however I feel that it is an ambitious project that would lead to information being dominantly supplied from developed countries leading to an inaccurate system being collated.

Chanda, K. (n.d.), ‘ICTs to enhance delivery of health services’, http://www.i4donline.net/issue/march04/enhance.htm (accessed 03.12.05)

Radio, tele-communications

Zambia has a HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 19.7%; the huge scale of the disease has meant that the Zambian Ministry of Health has had huge problems trying to combat the disease. In order to address the situation the ministry has began to apply a variety of aggressive ICT programs, one of which includes the introduction of a Telehealth system that would especially help those suffering from HIV/AIDS in more remote rural areas. The government recognises that one of the major hurdles is information dissemination and is therefore introducing a radio programs and phone help lines to help supply information to the population. These programs are also designed with the intention to help counsel people suffering or affected by the disease.

Development Gateway, ‘Enable, Educate and Empower: How The eApproach Can Help Tackle The HIV/AIDS Epidemic’, http://topics.developmentgateway.org/hiv (last accessed 21.11.05)

Computers and CD-Rom

This article from the Development Gateway discusses how in India utilising the increasing use of computers and mobile technology could possibly reduce the increasing number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS.  One practical way that ICTs are being used to combat the disease is through the National AIDS Control Organisation who used computer-based software to operate their toll free telephone help lines.  Several CD-ROMs are also being produced by the organisation for use in schools, hospitals to support training and capacity building programs.  The article also discusses how a low-cost e-Health program that is in operation across India can help reach the most marginalized of people.  So called 'Teledoc' the program was introduced by the Jiva institute a non-profit research and design institute.

Foreman, M. (2001), ‘Controversy, Stigma and Education: Media Coverage of HIV/AIDS in the Commonwealth, in Morrison, G. (2002), Global Health Challenges: Essays on AIDS, Commonwealth Secretariat

TV and Radio

This essay discusses some of the negative impacts the technologies of Television and Radio can have in less development areas. It conveys the story of Gugu Dlamini a female HIV sufferer in South Africa. She decided to announce her HIV status on radio and television in order to increase awareness of the disease but was subsequently beaten death by neighbours due to the stigmas attached to the disease. The article also mentions that there is so much competition to get audiences for TV and radio that portrayals are often sensationalised and inaccurate in order to attract audiences fuelling the stigma’s surrounding the virus.

One World (2002), ‘One World Radio AIDS Network to promote free exchange of radio programs on AIDS/HIV between radio stations worldwide’, http://www.oneworld.net/article/view/40016/1/3741 (last visited 21.11.05)

Radio

This article outlines the use of One World’s Radio AIDS Network programme.  The aim of the station is to allow people to share their experiences of AIDS/HIV, reduce the stigma associated with the disease and combat discrimination.  One World describes the problem of information dissemination and says that most radio and other audio programmes produced with a similar intent are confined for use in the geographical location that they are produced.  The article argues that one way to overcome this is by using the Internet.  The One World Radio AIDS network provides a searchable database for uploading and downloading different audio resources about AIDS/HIV, copyright free meaning that anyone with internet access can listen to the material.

Parveen, R. (2005), ‘Fighting HIV/AIDS in Pakistan’, http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/107979/1/ (accessed 07.11.05)




HIV/AIDS is emerging as a key development challenge in Pakistan. SACHET (Society for the Advancement of Community, Health, Education and Training) is an NGO that is working to harness ICTs to help combat HIV/AIDS amongst other development initiatives. It envisages doing this by providing ICT training for a rural crafts programme for underprivileged communities. It believes that its previous efforts to control the spread of the disease could be improved through implementing strategic communication of information of the disease by using the various information technology tools that make communication easier.

Plan International (2005), ‘Plan’s work with children affected by HIV/AIDS’, http://www.plan-international.org/action/hivaids/planswork/ (accessed 01.12.05)

Radio

This article outlines the way that the Plan an international NGO is using radio as an effective way to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS in Africa. The projects that Plan are involved in, are centred at a community and aim to empower social networks in order to safeguard the future of communities – children. In Malawi more specifically the medium of radio was used to raise awareness of various aspects surrounding HIV/AIDS with the specific aim of appealing to AIDS orphans or children whose parents were dying from AIDS/HIV.

Shakakata, R. C. (2001), ‘Information, Education and Communication on HIV/AIDS for female adolescents in Africa region in Global Health Challenges: Essays on AIDS, Commonwealth, SERA

Multi-media

This article argues that recent suggestions to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS via information dissemination about the virus using multi-media methods have many drawbacks. Firstly access to all forms of communication technologies is low in most underdeveloped regions. Secondly it argues that gaining access to information will not necessarily solve the problem of educating marginalized people as often information found on the Internet is not necessarily derived from primary sources and therefore open to interpretation. It also argues that the distribution of information on HIV/AIDS is particularly hard due to the taboos and stigma’s surrounding the disease.

Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication (2005), ‘The Soul City Series’, http://www.soulcity.org.za/02.01.asp (accessed 24.11.05)

Multi-media

The soul city NGO has produced range of multi-media series to impart information about HIV/AIDS and a range of other health related issues. By providing this information mainly through the mediums of television and radio programmes it is hoped that it will change the attitudes of the audiences and empower people to make informed choices in regards to their sexual health. The television and radio series have proved to very successful and have managed to win prestigious awards and have managed to reach a wide range of people.

United Nations (n.d.), ‘Dispelling Misconceptions about HIV/IDS – Vietnam’, http://www.unites.org/cfapps/WSIS/story.cfm?Sid=18 (last visited 06.10.05)

Email (ICTs in general)

This brief article discusses how introducing ICT into Vietnam is helping to organise communication between the government and various NGO’s working in the country. The re-organisation is helping NGO’s to pool together their resources to help those suffering from HIV/AIDS and has allowed the emergence of an email based discussion group and distribution list to pass on information on HIV/AIDS to the population. Whilst the project has been very successful in some respects, cultural, economic and linguistic traits of the Vietnamese mean that they still lagging behind in their use of the Internet. This has meant that those most at need of the information dissemination often do not have the means to access it. The future potential of ICTs in Vietnam does however look good, as networking schools and post offices has become a priority of the government.

UNICEF, ‘UNICEF radio’, http://www.unicef.org/videoaudio/video_radio.html (last accessed 21.11.05)

Radio

This website by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) provides a link to listen to UNICEF’s global radio service for children. The radio service focuses on health issues and contains several AIDS/HIV case studies that are downloadable to listen to, from programmes that have run from the radio. There are also links to the full text article that is related.  The articles are available to view or listen to free of charge making them accessible to even the poorest of people.

CABI Publishing (n.d.), ‘HIV/AIDS: Topics in International Health International Health CD-ROM Series’ http://www.cabi-publishing.org/AllOtherProducts.asp?SubjectArea=&PID=409 (accessed 04.12.05)

CD-ROM

This article reviews the publishing of a CD-ROM, which has been designed in conjunction with the Wellcome Trust, the world’s largest medical research charity, as part of a series on different epidemics. The CD-ROM’s have been designed to provide information on HIV/AIDS in developed and developing countries. It is an interactive CD in order to make using it more interesting and provides access to a range of different tutorials on HIVAIDS related issues. It also contains over 700 images related to the disease and data from the World Health Organisation.

Gender


Gender inequalities is a major handicap to controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS, with women disproportionately more affected than men (Burja 2004) therefore the following section will concentrate on how gender and ICT can aid help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Reference

Medium Used7

Annotation

Mulama, J. (n.d.), ‘Access to Computers Remain a Distant Dream for Women’, http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/print.asp?idnews=20650 (last visited 01.10.05)

ICTs in general

This article outlines how men are the dominant users of all ICTs in sub-Saharan Africa, including telephone, internet and photocopying and that in order for women to become empowered the governments of countries affected must ‘bridge’ this ‘gender gap’. The article also reveals that it is not just the responsibility of the government to increase access to ICTs for women and that the women themselves must encompass and utilise any facilities available to them. One particular women who came from rural West Kenya Nyende Namisi declined the use of a computer despite being of a very few marginalized persons who had access to one.

UNIFEM (2005), ‘Web Portal: Gender and HIV/AIDS’, http://www.genderandaids.org/ (accessed 04.12.05)

Internet and CD-ROM

This web portal provides information on gender aspects of HIV and AIDS in the form of an electronic library, with a special focus on providing information for women. The sight is designed by UNIFEM with support from UNAIDS to provide them with tutorials about HIV/AIDS. In order to make the entire web portal’s resources available to those who do not have internet access, UNIFEM have produced a CD-ROM containing the electronic library and a resource called an ‘e-Course Builder’ which allows tailor made tutorials to be produced on specific issues.

Weinstein, B. (2002), ‘HIV/AIDS CD-ROM for Health Worker’, http://www.comminit.com/materials/materials/materials-783.html (accessed 04.12.05)

CD-ROM

In order to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) and improve women’s reproductive and sexual health in general, EngenderHealth, an NGO have produced web based course resources for health care providers. The courses are also available via a CD-ROM. The aim of the course is to provide health care providers knowledge and strategies for addressing HIV/AIDS issues especially to those in resource poor settings. The courses have been provided through funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.




1 UN (2000), ‘UN Millennium Development Goals’, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (accessed 02.12.05)

2 UNAIDS and WHO (2004), ‘Global Summary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic’, UNAIDS AND WHO

3 E.g. Internet, Radio, TV, CD-Rom

4 E.g. Internet, Radio, TV, CD-Rom

1 UN (2000), ‘UN Millennium Development Goals’, http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (accessed 02.12.05)


5 E.g. Internet, Radio, TV, CD-Rom

6 E.g. Internet, Radio, TV, CD-Rom

7 E.g. Internet, Radio, TV, CD-Rom


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