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Instructor name Date AIDS, Inc. AIDS has become a major concern throughout Africa as thousands of people succumb to the illness, leaving thousands more children and loved ones orphans and destitute. While there are treatment options for AIDS and prevention strategies that can be taken, many of these approaches were rejected by South African governments mistrustful of Western medicine and media-controlled prevention messaging…
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Download file to see previous pages Although everyone seemed to be informed, very few bought into the sense of community mindset it would take to overcome the challenges of prevention to find a working solution. In Malcolm Gladwell's terms, the lack of adoption of AIDS prevention strategies in spite of widespread awareness discussed in Epstein's essay "AIDS, Inc." is a symptom of weak-tie networks not transitioning into strong-tie connections, a similar psychological problem faced by American college campuses as discussed by Rebekah Nathan. Traditional messaging regarding AIDS in South Africa was focused on forcing the audience to hear and understand the messages being sent. This is very similar to the approach described in Nathan's essay "Community and Diversity," in which college students were coerced into classes attempting to force a false sense of shared community. "As a student, one is immediately enlisted to join the group, to get involved, to realize that one has become a part of the AnyU 'community" (Nathan, 41). It didn't work for the students at the university and overt attempts such as this have not been successful in Africa. According to Gladwell, the reasons people decide to join a community remains consistent - those who have strong-tie connections to others engaged in the same pursuit were more likely to behave in the same way while those who had few strong-tie connections were more likely to go their own way. The approach taken correlates with what Gladwell says about weak-tie relationships. According to Gladwell, weak-tie relationships are those formed by general shared interests but few actual responsibilities. "The platforms of social media are built around weak ties," Gladwell says. However, there are strengths in weak ties. "Our acquaintances - not our friends - are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvelous efficiency. It's terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world." While these networks are very effective in distributing information widely, as evidenced in the surveys mentioned by Epstein, they don't generally lead to the types of changes in behavior needed to address the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. Just as Nathan discovered in the college situation, networks are effective at gathering information about risks and common behaviors among groups, but these kinds of weak-tie connections are not powerful enough to bring about actual change or acceptance of mistrusted sources. Fortunately, an activist group well aware of how to convert weak-tie relationships into strong-tie connections for positive change stepped in to help. The bulk of Epstein's essay is dedicated to discussing just how the organization LoveLife approached the problem, serving as an example to other groups who may wish to do the same. "The trick was to get inside the head-space of these young people ... we have to understand what is driving them into sex - they know what HIV is, but they don't internalize it" (Harrison cited by Epstein, 128). Rather than depending on a mostly one-sided media campaign that mimics much of the characteristics of Nathan's ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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Create topic, because you are writing the paper, not me
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