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Submitted by Mwendalubi Maumbi on
I'm not sure I understand your last sentence but anyway, having been working for a behaviour change communication strategy since 2006, I've come to endorse the observation that at the end of the day the success or failure of global efforts to prevent HIV/AIDS depends on on thel willingness and ability of individuals to behave in certain ways—to avoid risk, to seek counseling and HIV testing, to take appropriate preventive measures, and to adhere to recommended treatment regimens. The organisation I've worked for is called Modelling and Reinforcement to Combat HIV/AIDS (MARCH) Zambia in the Southern and Western Provinces of Zambia. Fundamentally, MARCH Zambia combines Modelling/Showing characters in a radio serial drama transitioning from risky behavioural traits to non risky ones over time and Reinforcement through interpersonal communication and mobilization at the community level to link them to services or simply talk with them to keep encouraging them in their efforts to alter certain behaviours. When the programme started in 2006, it was preceded by a formative research in seven (7) specific locations and just as an example, one of the key issues we sought to address was sexual cleansing in Southern Province. Traditionally, it's believed that a widow has her husband's ghost hovering around her until she is cleansed or will have the worst of things happening to her. Now despite other cleansing options like simply taking a concoction of herbs and kuchuta (man simply rolling over the widow) most people usually chose sexual intercourse as the cleansing mode because they believed and others still believe that it is the most effective. Most chiefs, if not all, in Southern Province have banned the practice, encouraging the use of other options but anecdotal data from reinforcement activities in 2009 showed that some people knew of women, who after agreeing to be cleansed non sexually still went ahead and had sex with unsuspecting men just to 'transfer' the ghost. Another example is the culture of silence in marriage...on face value, people assume men cheat more than women there are married women who say they prefer to have 'side kicks' for sex because if they complained that they were not being sexually satisfied, the man would say they are not 'cultured' which could be grounds for divorce. It's not that these people do not know that such puts them at a higher risk of HIV infection, they do. Organisations aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS exist in hundreds but they are not well coordinated - even in their specific localities.