The first government-funded educational promotions in the UK began in 1986 and ran through 1995. Sadly, a comment made by Lui (1997) when publishing her findings, now is a poignant reminder that somewhere along the way we as a state somehow failed to get the message out, sent the wrong message, or spoke to deaf ears. In 1997 Lui (p. 11) was quoted as follows: The projected heterosexual epidemic that has occurred in some European countries has not appeared in the UK on the scale once predicted. It seems likely that the prompt action taken in the UK has contributed to this. Health promotion and education remain the most powerful weapon against HIV/AIDS.
Although the heterosexual epidemic may not have been prevalent in 1987, just a few years later the infection rate amongst heterosexual men and women would for the first time overtake that of gay men. Since then the rates have been increasing at alarming rates. Whether due to the state’ s lack of continued campaigns against AIDS or through the media’ s focus on AIDS elsewhere in the world, the fact remains that the disease is spreading rapidly among the general populous, especially those between the ages of 25 and 34.
A major flaw Lui (1997) found whilst researching AIDS and the media was that the many of the British adverts failed to carry the correct message to the correct population groups within the UK. Most of the adverts in the late 1990s portrayed AIDS as a problem of the gay community, not a disease that could and does affect all facets of the population. This inaccurate or misguided message often leads those who depend on the media for ‘ getting the story right’ were under the impression that they were and are not at risk.
Richardson (2003) reminds us that the majority of AIDS-related photography displays three major themes: The body, Mortality, and Humanity. The perspective of the artist’ s rendering often reflects the mood or state of the environment in which the artist finds himself.
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