Ethiopians can tune into a new radio programme presenting the stories of ordinary people living with HIV/AIDS. The service, which builds on similar initiatives in Nigeria and Malawi, aims to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by HIV-positive people by presenting a more human face to the disease. For the very first time the audience will hear how very like themselves an HIV positive person can be, said Sofnias Nega of the center for communication programs (CCP) of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is running the programme in conjunction with the national AIDS Resource Centre (ARC) in Addis Ababa. Over time, as the diary is broadcast, the listener can develop a relationship with the diarist, and share in their trials and challenges.
The programme is broadcast on FM 97.1 Addis on Tuesdays and Fridays at 15.05, Radio Awassa FM on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 14.05 and Radio Fana on Tuesdays at 19.25. Funding comes from US president George Bushs Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Two million out of Ethiopias 77 million people are believed to be living with HIV/AIDS, with a higher prevalence rate in urban than in rural areas.