FAQ – Information Education and Communication IEC

Q.1 Despite all the publicity regarding the AIDS Awareness Campaign, the awareness about AIDS is very low. Where is all the money going?
Ans: The IEC campaign of NACO is operationalised at two levels: the National level and the State level. The activity has been mostly decentralised to the states and each state society is expected to utilise the funds as per the local requirements. Despite all the talk about funds being available for IEC, the fact is that the funds are quite meagre, considering the size of the country and the magnitude of the problem. Funds amounting to about 10 crore are available for the national campaign, which is operated centrally by NACO.

Q.2 The message of AIDS advertisements is done crudely with a fear approach. What is the process by which NACO decides its messages for various target audiences?
Ans: The fear approach has been completely done away with in all campaign messages. During the early days of the campaign, this approach was used to a certain extent, but the same has been discontinued for quite some time. NACO has a process by which a committee comprising renowned media personnel come together to decide the content and strategies for all campaigns at the national level. Research, in terms of NFHS and BSS surveys conducted by the Ministry, are used to ascertain knowledge levels in the population. Based on the funds available, appropriate media is used for dissemination of the messages.

Q.3 AIDS is associated with very high profile funds and personalities. In spite of this, there seems to be no control on the spread of the virus. Why?
Ans: Endorsement by well known personalities gives visibility and acceptance to any product (social and commercial), and is a time tested approach in the field of advertising. Prevention of AIDS is related to behavioural change in individuals who are expected to adopt safer sexual practices. This is an extremely difficult action response that the AIDS campaign expects from the target audience. This process is time consuming, however, we have to work more intensively. Given a limited budget available with NACO, all personalities roped in so far have offered their services for free. Media events that are appropriately located and strategised, are necessary to give visibility to the programme and also enthuse participation from target groups like the youth.

Q.4 AIDS awareness campaign is concentrated mostly in urban areas whereas the rural belts are left untouched. Why?
Ans: The IEC campaign uses a number of media vehicles to spread the messages in the rural belt also. The bulk of the money is spent on Doordarshan and radio which is accessible by both urban and rural population. As recent surveys have shown, the reach of television has far outstripped the reach of even radio and other media. Apart from the mass media, interpersonnel communication methods are used, which cover urban slums and rural areas.