An analysis of students' responses to ABC & VCT messages at three universities in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.
Mulwo, Abraham Kiprop.
MetadataShow full item record
The high levels of HIV prevalence amongst young people in several sub-Saharan African countries, in spite of massive HIV prevention interventions, has prompted calls to investigate the contextual factors that drive the epidemic. A crucial component that often has been missed in the literature is an understanding of the mediation processes involved in HIV prevention communication within cultural contexts. The uniqueness of this study is thus premised in its focus on the structures and processes of meaningproduction within social groups, with regard to sex and HIV/AIDS, and how the produced meanings affect the interpretation and impact of HIV prevention texts. Using Hermeneutics, Reception Theory and the Social Constructionism Theory, this study examines how students at University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology make sense of the cultural meanings offered by HIV prevention messages, such as ‘Abstinence’, ‘Be faithful’, ‘Condomise’ and Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). A multi-method approach, involving a questionnaire survey, in-depth interviews with sampled students and HIV/AIDS coordinators, and non-participant observations, was used to obtain data for the study. Findings of the study support the conclusion that the categories of students’ responses to HIVprevention messages were often predicated upon their relationships and participation in the various social groups. Their decisions to adopt/not adopt these prevention options were often based, therefore, on how meanings attached to these options articulated with the social significance of sex and sexual practices. In the context of intersubjective meaning-formation, therefore, the relational categories of abstinence, being faithful, condomise and VCT should not be conceptualised as discreet, frozen categories, but should rather be understood as open-ended possibilities existing concurrently, coextensively and dialectically.