|dc.description.abstract||Uganda s ABC approach to the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS has gained prominence and garnered controversy in recent years. Several studies have praised the approach for its remarkable feat in reducing HIV prevalence rates, while others, especially recently, have started to criticise and question this alleged success. Studies from the Ministry of Health s sero-behavioural survey (2005) and UNAIDS Aids Epidemic update (2005) have reported that despite years of dramatic success, Uganda stands at the brink of reversed HIV/AIDS success with prevalence rates stagnating between 6-7% of the total population for the last five years. Although several researchers and development agencies have tried to study this stagnation problem, the majority of their writing centres on issues like; government of Uganda bias in favour of AB of the ABC, the U.S Government s Emergence Plan for Aids Relief, which critics say, emphasises certain aspects of the campaign and downplays others, and complacency and aids fatigue among members of the target audiences.
While this study does not explore all the above propositions, it adds to this debate and attempts to explain the above stagnation problem from a communications angle; looking specifically at the efficacy of ABC messages in relation to their design, reception and impact. Who designs ABC messages and how are they designed? How relevant are the designed messages to members of the target audiences? How do audience members receive and react to these messages and what impact, if any, do these messages have on their target populations? The academic impetus driving this study emanates from Prochaska et al s (1992) Stages of Change model and Bandura s (1986) Social Cognitive Theory, both of which are part and parcel of the wider health communications and behaviour change communications.
From in-depth qualitative interviews with ABC message designers and a largely open-ended questionnaire with the different ABC audiences, the study reports that the current stagnation in Uganda s HIV reduction efforts is partly, communication related. The manner in which ABC messages are designed is not entirely reflective of the audiences dynamic and complex socio-cultural environment. Specifically, the MoH s HEPU and ACP and the UAC have not fine-tuned the ABC model to suit the dynamic and challenging circumstances of intended receivers. The majority of messages like; Be Responsible, Say No to Un-safe Sex Use a Condom are too general and do not address the current stages of change to which audience members lie on the behaviour change continuum.
The study recommends that while the ABC model has had tremendous success over the years, it needs to be fine-tuned and energized to suit new trends and circumstances of the target audiences. It needs to go beyond raising awareness and include what Bandura (1986) calls self-efficacy factors, which are; skills building, motivation, modelling, social support enhancement and confidence building. The design of ABC messages should also be targeted, tailored and customised to suit the needs and circumstances of various audiences at their respective stages of change.||nor