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Title: First Things First at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) : analysing visual materials and first-year students’ perceptions of a HIV-related campaign
Authors: Mungroo, Melissa 
Issue Date: 2018
The study focuses on the First Things First campaign and the responses of first-year University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) students to the campaign posters. The campaign is a project of the Higher Education and Training HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) that emphasises counselling and testing to reduce HIV and AIDS prevalence amongst students. The First Things First campaign posters encourage students to get tested and know their HIV status.

The research seeks to determine if first-year students at UKZN understand campaign messages depicted in the posters. Stuart Hall’s encoding-decoding model (1980) provides a theoretical framework to analyse the campaign, its context and communication patterns. Semiotics is used to analyse the posters. The students’ perceptions about the campaign are explored in relation to the campaign posters and pamphlet specifically while UKZN Health Clinic Support Unit staff and UKZN Journalists’ interpretations about the campaign are also explored.

Focus groups with first-year students and interviews with UKZN Health Clinic Support Unit staff and UKZN Journalists were conducted at the University. The data generated was subjected to interpretive semiotics and thematic content analysis.

The majority of participants understood the campaign messages, which they cite as ‘get tested’ and ‘know your HIV status’. The findings indicate that students accepted that the posters encourage them to test for HIV but that stigma, personal fears and the social environment could deter them from testing.

Considerations related to the effective formulation of messages and the First Things First campaign material are outlined. Enhanced publicity and visibility of campaign posters on UKZN campuses at libraries, cafeterias and on notice boards is suggested. The campaign would benefit from the posters being prominently displayed on the UKZN Facebook page and also on a First Things First Facebook page linked to the campaign.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Journalism, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Arts and Design)

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