HIV infection is a serious problem among young persons aged 15-24 years in Zimbabwe. According to a United Nations statement, the reduction of HIV and AIDS in this age group is important for monitoring the epidemic among the general population. Because the legal age of majority in Zimbabwe is eighteen years, this study investigated the roles of social media to improve the dissemination of HIV/AIDS information to young people aged 18-24 in Harare. The main aim was to establish a model that encapsulates the special roles for social media to improve the dissemination of HIV/AIDS information to this target group.
To collect relevant data, questionnaires and interviews with young people and HIV/AIDS organisations in Harare complemented an extensive literature review of the extant models for disseminating HIV/AIDS. The review revealed that there are several models for disseminating HIV/AIDS information via social media platforms. However, they lack the special requirements for an African city like Harare, and for this age group. Drawing on the strengths of these models and the unique data set generated by the research instruments, the study proposes a model fitting the special circumstances and challenges of 18-24 year old people in Harare.
The Harare HIV/AIDS Information Dissemination Programme for Young People model (HAIDYP) will for the first time unite all Zimbabwean organisations involved in disseminating HIV/AIDS information to focus on a specially targeted group. This model is especially sensitive to the indigenous languages of Ndebele, Shona, and Venda languages and advocates links with international, regional, and national organisations. HAIDYP’s special counselling role elaborates on the formal and informal teaching dimensions of existing models, and it has the potential of extending the benefits of social media to improve the dissemination of HIV/AIDS in other cities in Zimbabwe.