Paper Example on MTV's fight against HIV/AIDS

5 pages
1174 words
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Case study
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Human immune deficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease that was discovered in 1981. HIV/AIDS is a virus that is transmitted through sharing syringes or needles, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and from mother to children at birth or through breastfeeding. The virus infects the immune system after an incubation period of eight to ten years (Khanna, Bloom, & Bloom, 2009). The infection becomes critical when untreated and eventually leads to death. Since the recognition of HIV/AIDS, it is estimated that 25 million people have died due to the disease as at 2005. In the early stages of the disease in the United States, most infections were recorded among men who had sex with men, sex workers and their clients, and among users of drugs through injections. However, the virus soon spread beyond the groups mentioned and the heterosexual partners were also subject to transmission of HIV/AIDS. The United States adopted effective campaigns that targeted prevention of HIV/AIDS through education and promotion of condom use to keep the prevalence of the epidemic as low as possible. However, the epidemic was rampant among the developing nations. For instance, in 2007, 22.5 million people in the sub-Saharan Africa were infected with the disease out of the total of 33.2 million people worldwide (Khanna et al., 2009). This means that the developing countries, especially in Africa, were at a major risk of more transmissions. Additionally, women were more infected in the sub-Saharan Africa than men. This made HIV/AIDS a challenge to public health officials.

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The spread of HIV/AIDS affects economic development and productivity. Therefore, corporate institutions have an obligation to help in tackling AIDS. For instance, companies with employees working in regions with heavy HIV/AIDS rate usually encounter financial problems because employees get less productive while the costs on health care rise. This poses a financial burden to the company and therefore impacting on economic devilment. Furthermore, as a result of continued sickness because of HIV/AIDS infection, rates of absenteeism in the working environment increases and therefore, the infected employees are not able to complete their tasks. This affects productivity. Besides, companies lose their workforce through death as a result of HIV/AIDS. The epidemic also affects economic development and productivity as a result of reduced workforce morale, losing the most skilled and productive worker and loss of organizational finances through constant recruitments and training (Khanna et al., 2009). Furthermore, HIV/AIDS also affects the trends in the market. As a result of losing lives through AIDS, many businesses lose their target for their products. Moreover, the workforce that supplies labor and form a customer base for other companies has perished as a result of HIV/AIDS infections.

MTV has various advantages that position it to fight against HIV/AIDS adequately. Media is believed to be the best avenue for disseminating information regarding education and creating awareness on the social sphere. The media, therefore, is well placed to tackle HIV through increasing awareness creation, disseminating information that will facilitate the prevention of the epidemic, and education that will reduce stigmatization of the HIV/AIDS infected persons. This is in line with the United Nation assertion that education is the sole vaccine against the spread of AIDS and that media organizations have an immense influence in empowering and educating people to avoid new HIV infections. Furthermore, the channel has a wider global coverage with customized channels for each particular region. For instance, Africa has its channel different from Asia. Therefore, the channel covers a larger demographic and therefore increase the chances of the information spreading to the desired target population which is the youth through music. Furthermore, MTV has resources concerning the selling and marketing abilities that would involve and make the youth actively participate in generating persuasive messages that would lead to behavior change through the use of condoms. Finally, MTV has partnered with other groups, organizations, and individual such as the UNICEF, CIDA, and the World Bank to offer services that will help in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS. This has ensured that the organization stays on the forefront in the fight against the epidemic.

MTV`s embrace of public service messaging is core to its global strategy. This is because the public services messaging campaign such as the Staying Alive campaign can influence many audiences through customized contents through the channel. Additionally, MTV has a greater responsibility in developing countries than developed countries. Developing countries have recorded that highest number regarding new HIV/AIDS infections as compared to developed countries. This can be attributed to lack of knowledge concerning the epidemic or lower capacity regarding education and awareness about the epidemic. Therefore MTV has a responsibility of creating awareness and educating the people in developing countries so that they reduce the rate of HIV infections in the regions.

The public service messaging in MTV such as the Staying Alive campaign was more centralized than other MTV activities so that Roedy would be accessible at times of need to give more insights about the campaign. The team was placed in proximity to Roedys office. Additionally, the public service messaging campaign was centralized so that it is integrated into MTV`s DNA. Bill Roedys and Georgia Arnolds attempts to integrate the campaign against HIV/AIDS into MTV`s DNA is a proper strategy to ensure the sustainability of the campaign in the fight against HIV. The sustenance of the campaign will ensure that the project continues even when the pioneers are out of office. Roedy can ensure MTV`s commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS survives after his eventual departure through delegation of duties. For instance, he can decide to empower another employee though delegating work so that he creates an organizational culture that accommodates the fight against HIV/AIDS. Arnold can assist in the process because she has been a co-worker with Roedy in the Staying Alive Campaign. Therefore, she has diverse experience which she can channel to other team members to spread the knowledge in the organization.

MTV also has to focus on other activities that target to expanding the efforts to fight against HIV/AIDS. This involves a paradigm shift from the contemporary activities that focus on education and providing information. The channel has to include other media channels in the entertainment market such as the use of iPod, mobile TV and video gaming to some up with user generated contents that focus on giving a voice to the marginalized and vulnerable people infected with HIV/AIDS. Finally, because of the ever-changing forms of media and technological advancements, the audience capacity for mass media is drastically shrinking. Therefore, MTV has to ensure that they implement other activities that will help reduce HIV/AIDS infection such as the use of public service announcements to the target populations, multilingual internet contents, youth forums and local events such as concerts to educate the people on HIV/AIDS.


Khanna, T., Bloom, S., & Bloom, D. (2009). Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll: The MTV Approach to Tackling HIV/AIDS. Harvard Business School, 9-709-429, 1-28.

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