Communication is an essential element of prevention, treatment and care efforts. Historically such efforts have been limited by a focus on getting messages out about how to behave, with lesser attention to cultural and social contexts in which such communication occurs. These contexts often present barriers to individual behaviour change. Social communication is an inclusive way of responding to social drivers such as gender inequality and stigma, which impact on the effectiveness of communication. The approach falls into a variety of Service Delivery areas including:
Social communication is an umbrella term involving strategic use of advocacy, media, interpersonal and dialogue-based communication, and social mobilization to systematically accelerate change in the underlying drivers of risk, vulnerability and impact. It requires an assessment of the specific nature of these drivers in order to design an appropriate response.
It also requires an appraisal of the existing national communication strategy and the range of communication opportunities to maximize indigenous ways of communicating and strengthening existing channels and capacities.