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Keep talking about it: HIV/AIDS-related communication and prior HIV testing in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Thailand.
AIDS and Behavior. 2009 Dec; 13(6):1213-21.Informal, interpersonal communication within a community about HIV and AIDS, or lack of such communication, may influence community members' uptake of voluntary counseling and testing. Drawing from Noelle-Neumann's spiral of silence theory, this study examined the association between communication about HIV/AIDS and prior HIV testing in communities in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Thailand. Participants (N = 14,818) in 48 communities across five sites throughout the four countries completed a behavioral survey assessing communication, prior voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) uptake, social norms, stigma, and sexual risk. Site-specific logistic regression models demonstrated that frequent conversations about HIV were significantly associated with prior HIV testing at every site. Odds ratios for each site ranged from 1.885 to 3.085, indicating a roughly doubled or tripled chance of past VCT uptake. Results indicate that verbal communication may be an important mechanism for increasing health behaviors and inclusion in future interventions should be considered.
The children's streets. An ethnographic study of street children in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Las calles de los niños. Estudio etnográfico de niños de la calle en Ciudad Juárez, México.
International Social Work. 1999 Apr; 42(2):189-199.The purpose of this study was to observe behaviors of street children in Ciudad Juárez in an effort to gain a better understanding of their condition. This study sought to bring the words and perceptions of street children, and those who work with the children, into a forum which sheds light on the factors which affect these children as they live and work on the streets. (excerpt)
[Unpublished] 1978 Oct.  p.The objective of Botswana's "Our Land" project was to involve the public, and particularly the rural population, in both learning about and voicing their opinion on land-use policies. Initiated in 1975, the media involved were radio, print, flipcharts, and interpersonal communication. The government had developed a land-management policy based on the practices of stock controls, fencing, paddocking, early weaning, salt-and-bonemeal feeding supplementation, and rotational grazing to reverse land degradation. A supplementary goal was to preserve some of the values and features of the traditional land-tenure system as well as to protect the interests of the individuals who own few or no cattle. This educational campaign was created to explain and obtain feedback on land zoning policies and other aspects of the land-management program. There were 4 phases to the "Public Consultation:" a 2-month national speaking tour in the autumn of 1975 with the President and his ministers attending more than 100 community meetings to explain public policy and to field questions from villagers; briefings and seminars for government officers and others held over the July 1975-February 1976 period; a trial-run, the "Radio Learning Group Campaign," and analysis and use of the public responses culled during the Radio Learning Groups, which took place in 1976 and 1977. The Radio Learning Group Campaign included a pilot project, leadership courses, materials preparation, radio broadcasts, and followup radio programs based on responses to earlier broadcasts. Some vital information on the land-zoning proposals and their implications was broadcast to roughly 3200 listening groups averaging 16 members each. Each group, which had a discussion leader, met twice weekly for 5 weeks to discuss the broadcasts and the specially prepared materials. Following each program, group leaders sent a report about the group discussion to the campaign organizers who used the information to develop land-use plans to prepare "answer" programs for broadcast. 3510 groups were established, falling short of the goal of between 4000-5600 groups. The "Public Consultation" revealed that Botswana's population recognizes the problem of overgrazing, identifying the presence of too many cattle as the major cause. A large majority favor the principle of granting exclusive leasing rights to grazing land and want such grazing land situated in the sand-velds where population density is low.
Dacca, Bangladesh, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, April 1977. 41 p.Reports on a survey conducted to identify the formal and informal opinion leaders as perceived by the people of Bangladesh, and to assess their attitude towards family planning. Findings indicate that the contraception practice rate among opinion leaders is significantly higher than the average, and it is recommended that specific orientation and training in the skills of interpersonal and group communication be arranged for them to effect a transfer of motivation to the people in their locality. Also established is the fact that obstacles to family planning due to religious belief is more a function of the leaders' perception of people's attitude than a function of reality. Opinion leaders fail to identify population as the root problem, so that family planning education should be structured around the felt problems of food, unemployment, poverty, and so forth. The need for a greater degree of husband-wife communication about family planning is indicated, as well as a change in the traditional status of women. A family planning program with an incentive-disincentive aspect should be deemphasized. Finally, the survey reveals that the local leadership is not yet ready to take major responsibility in family planning communication.
Impact of the 1988-89 national AIDS communications campaign on AIDS-related attitudes and behaviors in Jamaica.
[Unpublished] 1990 Jun. iii, 61,  p. (USAID Contract No. DPE-3051-Z-00-8043-00)1,124 questionnaires were completed in order to assess the impact of a national AIDS communications campaign upon knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) related to the prevention of HIV transmission and AIDS in Jamaica. Awareness of AIDS was high at baseline, and remains so after the campaign. Significantly more persons understand that AIDS is preventable, yet many still think that changes in personal behavioral will do little to protect them from infection. A high degree of negative public sentiment exists against those with AIDS, with none of the popular AIDS myths having been completed eradicated. As for condoms, they enjoy a positive image, and are widely known of in the country. Their use is comparatively high in Jamaica, slightly up from baseline levels, and chosen especially among youth and singles. Occasional condom use is high largely with primary partners, while regular use is high with secondary partners. Overall, more effective behavioral change has taken place since the baseline survey. An increased number of persons have sexual relations with only 1 faithful partner. The campaign was widely seen and memorable, albeit with retention of key preventive measures low to moderate among the campaign audience. Quantitatively, these measures seem to have gotten through to a larger audience than that reached in an earlier round of the campaign. Efforts should be made to further dispel popular myths, stress the importance and effect of behavioral changes, promote the consistent practice of correct behaviors, develop revised motivational messages, and consider the role of interpersonal communication in campaigns all with a fresh, new approach.
Ottawa, Canada, International Development Research Centre, 1973. 30 p. (IDRC-009e)This paper evaluates the progress of a Latin American population through stages in family planning adoption. The focus is on changes in knowledge of contraception, attitudes, and practices which occurred over 5 years (1964-69) of widespread public discussion concerning family planning and of program activity in Bogota, Colombia. Data from 2 surveys, 1 in 1964 and the other in 1969, permit the 1st temporal analysis of family planning adoption for a major metropolitan city in Latin America. Additional data on rural and small urban areas of Colombia from the 2nd survey permit a limited assessment of diffusion of family planning from the city to the nation as a whole. The 1st survey in Bogota revealed moderate to high levels of knowledge of contraceptive methods and generally favorable attitudes to birth limitation. However, at this time many women had never spoken to their husbands about the number of children they wanted, nor tried a contraceptive method at any time. The 2nd survey showed substantial changes in this picture. The proportion of currently mated women who had spoken to their husbands about family size preference changed from 43 to 62% for an increase of 71%. Fertility fell appreciably over this period, especially among younger women. Family planning program services had a significant direct contribution to the adoption process, since 36% of mated women had been to a clinic by 1969. The most modern methods of birth control -- the anovulatory pill and the intrauterine device -- which were scarcely known in 1964 were widely known in 1969, and contributed most to the observed increase in current contraceptive practice. However, among the previously known methods, the simplest method of all, withdrawal (coitus interruptus), showed the greatest increase in current practice and remained the most commonly used method. These findings suggest that favorable attitudes and knowledge tend to become rather widespread before levels of husband-wife discussion of family size preferences and levels of contraceptive trial increase appreciably. The results also indicate that contraceptive knowledge and favorable family planning attitudes are spreading rapidly outward from the cities into the rural areas, but that contraceptive practice is still predominantly restricted to urban populations. (author's)
Public Opinion Quarterly. 1965 Spring; 29:54-70.A theoretical framework is developed that demonstrates that the seemingly contradictory research conclusions that rumors expand and contract are actually complementary and that each is correct given the circumstances of its derivation. There is general agreement in the field that a rumor is an unconfirmed message passed from 1 person to another in face-to-face interaction that refers to an object, person, or situation rather than an idea or theory. Whether a rumor is truthful or untruthful is unimportant in studying its transmission. The essential features of a rumor are that it is unconfirmed at the time of transmission, and that is passed from 1 person to another. The individual may find himself/herself in 1 of 3 orientations or situations in relation to a rumor: the rumor may cause the individual to take a critical set, an uncritical set, or a transmission set toward it. If the individual takes a critical set it means that he/she is capable of using "critical ability" to separate the true from the false in rumors. If an individual takes an uncritical set, it means that he/she is unable to use "critical ability" to test the truth of the rumor he/she hears. If the individual takes the transmission set, usually found in laboratory experiments, his/her critical ability is irrelevant. Except for the natural redundancy of language, past experiments on rumor transmission do not have redundancies. In a face-to-face conversation a person hears a rumor and asks for a clarification of message or source if he/she does not understand it. In a situation where a rumor is a topic of conversation and speculation, interaction produces a modified "Gestalt" at every discussion of the rumor. There is another type of redundancy besides that brought about by the normal community setting, the individual would probably hear the rumor more than once. Implicit in the discussion of single and multiple interactions is the idea of 2 different kinds of rumor patterns. In the 1st type, the chain, the rumor moves from person to person in a serial manner in a series of single interactions. In the 2nd type, the network, many people hear the rumor from more than 1 source. 2 group level variables operate to promote or retard the spreading or repeating of rumors: the structure of the group or public through which the rumor is spreading, and the involvement or interest the group has in the topic. The empirical evidence suggests that where individuals have critical ability and interact with more than 1 person, the rumor will become more precise with each transmission, it will have its false elements stripped away, and it will become more accurate because of cross checking with knowledgeable sources.
New York, New York, Harper and Row, 1982. ix, 278 p.A revision of the 1973 "Men, Messages, and Media," this book attempts to introduce the reader to the communication process, with revisions to reflect the growth of knowledge and experience in teaching. The initial sections, which deal with the nature of language, cover the following: how communication developed; what communication does; the process of communications; the signs and codes of communication; and the pathways of communication, that is, who talks to whom. The section devoted to the mass media concentrates on the makeup of audiences, the nature of their exposure to television and print, and the process through which news, in particular, is highlighted. Material dealing with social control of the mass media has been elaborated and updated. The major theories of the effects of communication are reviewed, and some of the context of their historical development identified. Focus in the final chapter is on communication tomorrow -- an age geared to computers, recorders, individualized and interactive broadcasting, and new systems for storing and exchanging information. These are the beginning years of such as age. The beginning chapters talk about human communication as it exists, a system in place sufficiently long to be able to talk about models of how it works, the nature of social controls upon it, the audiences it has, and its effects. It is necessary to understand that this focus is prologue to a new age in which the basic nature of human communication will not change yet one in which the social system of communication itself is likely to be considerably different from the ages of communication known in the past. The signs of this new ge include an explosion of new communication technology, the enormous increase in the production of information, and a significant change in the work forces, i.e., a larger and larger proportion of service and business jobs concerned with information. Some of the characteristics of this new age will be: more information will flow, with consequent chance of an overload; information will come faster, making it necessary to create mechanisms and institutions to scan and sort and process it more effectively; a higher proportion of the information will come from farther away; more of this flow of information than at any time since the introduction of radio is likely to be point-to-point rather than point-to-mass; and information is likely to be a source of power to those who have quick access to it and can process it efficiently.