MYRC: HIV e-dae-o

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Background

In 2007, In Tune for Life (ITFL) travelled to Bo, a town in southern Sierra Leone, to visit the Methodist Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) and produce an audio CD with 12 songs about HIV and a DVD with two animations on HIV. Using music and animation to sensitize communities about HIV was a creative way of reaching out to a highly illiterate population. In Sierra Leone only 29.6% of adults and 38.2% of youth know how to read and write.

The songs were recorded in familiar Sierra Leonean style of music and youth were directly involved in the creative process, both writing the lyrics and singing the songs in three local languages; Mende, Krio and English. Technical assistance on recording, arrangement and post-production of the songs and animation was provided by ITFL experts. One animation demonstrated the ways in which people living with HIV can be stigmatized while the other illustrated each aspect of the SAVE message.

Since the official launch in March 2008, the songs and animations have been used by peer educators on numerous community outreaches to raise HIV awareness among youth in Bo and Kenema directly reaching a total of 126,607 people. Dissemination of these educational messages extends to both youth and adults nationally via radio and television broadcasts. Although hard to quantify, it is estimated that these radio and TV broadcasts indirectly reached about 1million people. There has also been great demand for the “HIV e dae-o” album by other local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As a result other NGOs have begun to use the SAVE message instead of ABC.

Methodology

An evaluation was done which involved administering questions on attitudes towards HIV positive people. Several remote communities without any previous radio or TV exposure to the album were chosen to take part. They listened to the songs, watched the animations and answered the same questionnaire before and after hearing and seeing the communications materials

Results

  • There was a significant increase in the percentage of responses that showed less stigmatising attitudes towards people with HIV following exposure to the HIV Album
  • This increase in less stigmatising attitudes was found across all age groups and among both women and men
  • The odds of giving a favourable or less stigmatising response was 3x higher (95% CI 2.12-4.28) following exposure to the ‘HIV e dae-o’ album
  • The data suggests that the HIV Album was more effective at improving attitudes among women (OR 3.83, 95%CI 2.33-6.30) than men (OR 2.36, 95%CI 1.43-3.88), however this could be because women had poorer attitudes from the beginning
  • Finally, HIV attitudes improved across all age groups following exposure to the intervention, but were most improved among people age 19-25 (OR 5.8, 95% CI 2.23-15.38) and 26-36 (OR 4.20, 95% CI 1.80-9.79)

Graph 1: Favourable attitudes toward HIV before and after exposure to the HIV Album

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