Original Articles

HIV/AIDS messages in Malawi and their implications for effective responses


Abstract

This paper explores the nature of HIV/AIDS education and information networks in Malawi, with a focus on Dedza district. We consider the role of institutional and personal actors involved in Malawi's recently instated and decentralised behaviour-change intervention strategy, as well as the form and function of interpersonal social networks that mediate this information. The research reveals that the organisational capacity of actors and the conflicting messages regarding promotion of condom use may prevent Malawi from achieving a coordinated and effective decentralised response to the HIV epidemic. The research shows that individuals draw on complex interpersonal social networks, often processing mixed messages regarding HIV prevention strategies and receiving negative messages regarding condom use. The paper discusses the implications of such inconsistencies and conflicts with actors, interpersonal social networks and the nature of the messages themselves for HIV/AIDS education in Malawi.

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