Role of Health Education in Prevention of HIV Infection

Wednesday, 07 Dec, 2016


AIDS is not only a public health but also a social problem because of the stigma attached to it.  If the disease is not curbed in its earliest, may explode and the communities may vanish as it happened in the African countries.
The most vital treatment or tool available is only the health education, which may bring down the incidence of the disease to a negligible level.  Thus the need of the hour is to have a systematic information, education and communication system available to suit each ad every group of people in the society.

Thus we need to formulate objectives/ strategies to cover each and every individual.  The first objective is to ensure that the people are told about the spread of the disease, its prevention and control measurement available at present.  Second objective is to ensure dissemination of comprehensive education to the people and vulnerable groups.

The components may be as follows:-
1. People should be informed not to indulge in multiple sexual activities.
2. Not to visit commercial sex workers.
3. To be faithful to legal life partner.
4. To discourage reuse of syringes and needles.
5. To ensure usage of property sterilized medical equipments for surgeries.
6. Though protected sex to be practiced by the people, educators may take case of the conservative societies.
7. Blood donors to be tested for HIV/ AIDS.
8. People to be loaded with knowledge so that they look for the label on blood transfusion containers which indicates HIV/ AIDS free sign.
9. People should have the knowledge that proper and sterilized equipment are used by barbers, tattooists, ear, nose piercers and dental doctors.

The third objective is regarding induction of knowledge, regarding services and intervention available for prevention and centre of AIDS which includes facilities available for testing blood for HIV/ AIDS and for treatment.  People to be assured that confidentiality is maintained by health care professional in case of positive HIV cases.  Thus the communities need to be encouraged to utilize the available services in time through their active participation.

Health education sessions to be conducted to all the high risk groups to prevent HIV such as women (because of their social status), youth and adolescents, industrial workers, drivers, people in occupations which require frequent traveling, army, police (especially in border areas), blood donors, health workers, commercial sex workers, drug users and new born.  Different settings need to be utilized as per the need such as schools, colleges, industries etc.

To change the attitudes and behaviour of the people, the health educators need to be kind and sympathetic with the people.  The health care professionals need to identify people who can influence and take responsibility of spreading the messages in every nook and corner of the societies.  Other than the health care personal and health educators the involvement to spread the information a be taken by traditional practitioners, members of gram panchayat, religious leaders, members of Mahilamandals, school teachers, anganwari workers and supervisors, trained and traditional dais.  Community health guides, retired personnel, elderly people, rehbar-i-sehat teachers and accredited social activists.

Associations such as nurses association, medical association and dental association also can contribute to extend educational activities to public.  When the health education is given to public, one has to keep in mind that the message being communicated to be very clear, understandable, specific, accurate and timely.  The communicator need to have clear cut objectives, should use proper channels of communication and use variety of Audio-Visual aids.

Therefore Systemic organization of information, education and communication programmes (EC) both in hospitals, communities (rural and urban) to be conducted to change knowledge, attitude and behaviour of powerful weapon to change the behaviour of individuals.


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