Public Relations in Fight Against HIV/Aids

Throughout the decade, I have come across many non-profit organizations, advertisements, marketing strategies, and campaigns helping to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The best marketing strategy that stands out is when GAP went “red” by selling shirts throughout their stores to raise money for HIV/AIDS.
At the time, I didn’t realize how many people are living with AIDS, have died, and how common this epidemic has become on a global perspective. In the U.S. more than 1 million people are HIV positive. In South Africa, over 250,000 people have died from AIDS and 5.2 million people are living with AIDs in 2008 according to http://www.avert.org. According to the New York Times article “South Africa to Expand to Combat Aids, South Africa has more people infected with AIDS in contrast to any other country. 35,000 babies died last year and 330,000 people died from lack of treatment under Mr.Mbeki’s governement according to Harvard researchers. As a result, Pres. Zuma will be treating pregnant women and babies who are HIV positive. As a result, more people with AIDS will be living fuller lives.
On an international public relations standpoint, a public relations practitioner has to understand cultural differences, political and economic forces along with societal forces that influences the South African culture. The primary language is English along with 11 other official languages. A practitioner’s job is to work as external or internal public relations officers. An external agent would be consultants or advisors to a company where as in internal public relations officer performs multiple functions such as organizing, media relations, and production of media messages. In relation to the HIV/AIDS issue in South Africa, it is important for one to understand the background history and how a country operates as a whole. Public Relations has had a major impact in the country’s operations, especially with HIV/AIDS. For example, due to the many struggles of political and social conflict in South Africa, public relations has been a communication tool to help build trust among the various cultures within the region. According to Skinner and Von Essen (1991) “public relations has emerged in South Africa today as a sophisticated, multi faceted discipline able to help forge effective two-way communication between an organization and its various publics.”

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One Response to “Public Relations in Fight Against HIV/Aids”

  1. Andrews Says:

    Why do you believe the “RED” campaign was such as success in drawing attention to this issue? Any theories you see being used?

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