Talking about OneLove in Southern Africa
06 February 2009
“Talk, respect, protect”
OneLove is a regional campaign running in Southern Africa that aims to get people talking about the trend of having more than one sexual partner at a time. The overall goal is change this behaviour which is a factor in the transmission of HIV in the region.
Using mass media and social mobilisation to communicate its message, OneLove encourages people to discuss multiple partnerships and come to greater understanding of the risks involved in their lifestyle choice.
Multiple partnerships and concurrent relationships
Close sexual networks are formed when men and women have multiple sexual partners or concurrent relationships—ongoing relationships with more than one intimate partner overlapping for weeks, months or years. If someone in this network acquires HIV it increases the chance of everyone else who is part of this network becoming infected.
OneLove national campaign South Africa
The South Africa OneLove campaign was launched on 14 January. With outreach to 16 million South Africans, the prime-time TV drama series “Soul City” and the “Soul City” radio drama are key vehicles to get the message out to people across the country. UNAIDS is a partner of the Soul City Institute which aims to promote healthy lifestyle choices through mass media advocacy.
The OneLove theme is also being featured on radio talk shows, through TV and radio advertisements and a number of outreach events. Over a million information booklets will also be distributed in multiple languages.
The overall goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of new HIV infections in South Africa by 10% by 2011. This will contribute to the goal set by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), which aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in South Africa by half in a couple of years.
South Africa has the largest number of HIV positive people in the world with some 5.7 million people living with HIV in the country and HIV prevalence in adults is 18%. Campaigns that inform people of the potential risks of their lifestyle empowers people to make informed decisions about their sexual behaviour
Catherine Sozi, UNAIDS Country Coordinator
“South Africa currently has the largest number of HIV positive people in the world with some 5.7 million people living with HIV in the country and HIV prevalence in adults—age 15 to 49—is 18%. Campaigns that inform people of the potential risks of their lifestyle empowers people to make informed decisions about their sexual behaviour,” said UNAIDS Country Coordinator Catherine Sozi.
Social networking to discuss sexual networks
As well as mobilizing traditional media, OneLove is also employing social networks to highlight the issue of sexual networks. The campaign features on a range of social networking and new media fora including video sharing site YouTube, the Flickr shared photo gallery, a Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Participation and sharing of ideas is at the core of the campaign. The OneLove official website (http://www.onelovesouthernafrica.org) hosts, in addition to lots of information resources and fact sheets, a weekly competition and blog. Everyone is invited to comment on articles, add their views on a discussion board and take the online polls.
The HIV epidemic in Southern Africa
The severity of the epidemic in southern Africa—nine countries in the region account for 35 per cent of all HIV infections in 2007—underscores the need for intensified and accelerated action towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
UNAIDS has identified HIV prevention as a particular priority and it highlights the importance of reducing HIV incidence through a combination of prevention approaches. Combination strategies include education and raising awareness in relation to delayed sexual debut, increased condom use, male circumcision and reduction in numbers of concurrent relationships. The OneLove campaign is an important vehicle for this.