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AIDS: A Communication Perspective


Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 365 Broadway, Hillsdale, NJ

A cure for AIDS is still in the future with prevention the primary thrust at this time in the communities. It has been shown that individuals will take the necessary actions for prevention only when "(a) they are properly informed and (b) they feel motivated to respond to the information they possess." This communication about AIDS is a non-stop process because slowing the information only a fraction results in individuals falling back into their old ways of unsafe sex. Much research is being conducted on how better to communicate and how better to educate. "The specific purpose of the book is to examine how theory informs our understanding of communication processes as they relate to the AIDS crisis in the United States and other parts of the world." Chapter one covers safer sex with the advice of "know your partner." The authors center their discussion around sexual scripts and how they communicate. The next two chapters cover the use of condoms and chapter four has the title "Healthy Passions: Safer Sex as Play." These four chapters form the groundwork for the rest of the book. The six following chapters cover such topics as AIDS media campaigns, audience response to health messages about AIDS, the National AIDS Information and Education Program as an example of a systems approach to AIDS communication, culture in HIV education, AIDS and the media agenda, and "AIDS, Medicalization, and the News Media." These are serious, well-researched articles showing the power of communication and how information on AIDS is brought to the attention of the public. They also indicate whether or not those who are being targeted, really comprehend what is being told. It is interesting to read that the medical profession and its publications have loosened up what appears in the general publications that the layperson reads by using terms that until now were not allowed or were considered offensive. This is particularly true when it comes to talking about sex, safer sex, and gay sex. All in all this is an excellent overview of how communication is helping but it also shows that, unless the targeted individuals read and understand, all the communication in the world will go on deaf ears. This book certainly shows that when it comes to AIDS, nothing should stand in the way of education, not even the church. A highly recommended book for all libraries. (H. Robert Malinowsky)

Prevention, Health Risk Communication, Health Behavior, Safer Sex, Condoms, Education)


Information in this article was accurate in April 30, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.