Contributions of HIV/AIDS Social Networking Sites towards Awareness and Prevention of the Pandemic among Students of Rhodes University, South Africa

Nkosinothando Mpofu, Abiodun Salawu

Abstract


Social networking sites (SNSs) have gained remarkable acceptance in South Africa as platforms for social communication. The increase in platforms or spheres through which SNSs can be accessed has contributed to the growth in numbers of users both in the rural and urban settings. Although this increase in use covers various age groups, young people remain at the forefront of embracing the SNSs. Owing to their popularity and potential, SNSs have since ceased to be platforms only for social communication but have also now been used for more beneficial purposes such as education and health communication. This article thus explores how one SNS (MYMsta.mobi) focussing on HIV/AIDS related issues is being used by young people in South Africa, who in this case are represented by Rhodes University students, with the intent of unveiling the consequences of using such sites towards increasing knowledge on HIV/AIDS and supporting the adoption of preventive efforts. Drawing from a quantitative survey and the use of open-structured questions with Rhodes students, this article argues that when strategically designed and implemented, HIV/AIDS social networking sites can become significant tools towards reinforcing and increasing knowledge about HIV/AIDS which is an essential element towards the adoption of preventive behaviours among young people in South Africa.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n6p191


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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