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Missing the message?

After years of neglect, more money and political interest is being directed towards AIDS than ever before. But is today’s response to the pandemic learning from the lessons of the past, lessons now stretching back over 20 years? Large sums of money have been spent on activities aiming to achieve rapid results. Often the results have been disappointing or short lived.

This report focuses on the way in which the response to the pandemic has been shaped, with a particular emphasis on the way in which communication has been used. Often the emphasis is on information dissemination, and the distribution of health messages.

While information is vital, past successes in fighting AIDS suggest that approaches need to be far broader than this. A politicised civil society, with communities able to take ownership of the response to HIV/AIDS, can catalyse extraordinary change and mobilisation. Similarly, a media able to support informed, inclusive debate will also be critical to future successes.

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