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FHI - Family Health International
Behavior Change Communications (BCC) for HIV/AIDS: A Strategic Framework
FHI, Arlington, VA, Sept 2002, 26 pp

This work was supported by USAID.FHI implements the USAID IMPACT Project in partnership with the Institute of Tropical Medicine Management Sciences for Health, Population Services International, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Reproduced with kind permission of Family Health International.


"Behavior change communication (BCC) is an interactive process with communities (as integrated with an overall program) to develop tailored messages and approaches using a variety of communication channels to develop positive behaviors; promote and sustain individual, community and societal behavior change; and maintain appropriate behaviors. In the context of the AIDS epidemic, BCC is an essential part of a comprehensive program that includes both services (medical, social, psychological and spiritual) and commodities (e.g., condoms, needles and syringes). Before individuals and communities can reduce their level of risk or change their behaviors, they must first understand basic facts about HIV and AIDS, adopt key attitudes, learn a set of skills and be given access to appropriate products and services. They must also perceive their environment as supporting behavior change and the maintenance of safe behaviors, as well as supportive of seeking appropriate treatment for prevention, care and support. In most parts of the world, HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Development of a supportive environment requires national and community-wide discussion of relationships, sex and sexuality, risk, risk settings, risk behaviors and cultural practices that may increase the likelihood of HIV transmission. A supportive environment is also one that deals, at the national and community levels, with stigma, fear and discrimination, as well as with policy and law. The same issues apply in parts of the world where unsafe injection of illegal drugs is the chief source of new infections. The AIDS epidemic forces societies to confront cultural ideals and practices that can contribute to HIV transmission. Effective BCC is vital to setting the tone for compassionate and responsible interventions. It can also produce insight into the broader socioeconomic impacts of the epidemic and mobilize the political, social and economic responses needed to mount an effective program. FHI’s pragmatic BCC approach, based on sound practice and experience, focuses on building local, regional and national capacity to develop integrated BCC that leads to positive action by stimulating society-wide discussions. BCC is both an essential component of each program area and the glue between the various areas. However, society-wide change is slow; changes achieved through BCC will not occur overnight.

This document outlines FHI’s BCC strategy for HIV/AIDS. It has been developed for use by donors, partners, collaborators and potential collaborators."

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