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A Discourse Analysis of Hiv and Aids Posters Used in Harare

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1.0 Area of Investigation The HIV and AIDS pandemic developed into an international crisis warranting a global response and responses to date have not significantly curbed the crisis .In Sub-Saharan Africa where the HIV and AIDS is most prevalent and Zimbabwe in particular there is a need to reconsider and improve current responses to the pandemic and a necessary step in that process is to examine the messages in HIV and AIDS discourse such as posters which have been neglected in favour of large media such as television.
This study is a multimodal discourse analysis of posters in English and Shona used in HIV and AIDS Campaigns in Harare. Using a systemic functional approach, the study seeks to investigate how selected posters produced from 2005 to 2011 by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Population Services International, UNAIDS and WHO use images and linguistic features to enhance meaning negotiation and meaning transfer in communicating HIV and AIDS information and how these messages can be interpreted by a Zimbabwean audience. The thematic messages analysed in this study include safe sex , condom use,HIV and AIDS transmission and prevention messages, male circumcision ,ante-natal testing for pregnant women and social issues such as stigma and prejudice. Multimodal features of posters such as, graphic features which include, design features, image, colour, font size, camera angle, vectors and linguistic features such as, metaphors, euphemisms, sentence construction, nouns, verbs etc, are analysed to show how they act as a barrier or aid to the decoding of HIV and AIDS messages. The study also examines the vocabulary and discourse on HIV and AIDS in terms of words associated with negative meanings and connotations, victimising language, discriminatory language and stereotyping since such discourse can form exclusion, inclusion or prominence.
This study is grounded on a Multimodal Discourse Analysis approach as propounded by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) which is derived from Halliday’s (1994) Systemic Functional Linguistics. Multimodality which is also referred to as ‘multimodal analysis’ or ‘multimodal semiotics’ (O’Halloran:2011) according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006) is when a text communicates through a number of modes by combination. HIV and AIDS posters as text can be defined as multimodal when they combine two or more semiotic systems and there are five semiotic systems in total namely, linguistic, visual, gestural, audio and spatial.
A poster in this research is any piece of printed paper designed to be attached to a wall or vertical surface (Dother: 2011).Typically posters are multimodal in that they include both graphic and textual elements although they may be wholly graphic or wholly textual. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1998) posters have unique characteristics in the form of linguistic and visual elements and these qualities have to be analysed differently applying more than one framework of analysis to understand how the different features work together to successfully convey meaning. In this sense following, Kress and Van Leeuwen (1998) observation ,it is important to note that the semiotic code of language and the semiotic code of images are different since each have their own means of realising what in the end are similar semantic relations. For example, what in language is realised by the words of the category of ‘action verbs ‘ is in images realised by elements that can be formally defined as ‘vectors’, while what in language is realised by locative prepositions is realised in pictures by formal characteristics that create contrast between background and foreground .In other cases what is communicated through images cannot be expressed through language and vice-versa, making the relationship between images and text complimentary but in no way dependent on one another. Multimodal discourse analysis is relevant to the study of HIV and AIDS posters since the selected posters used in this study are multimodal because they combine linguistic and visual semiotics as strategic meaning making resources in social contexts.
Multimodality provides provides an important counter balance to monomodal approaches to meaning making such as those which consider only language in interpretation of texts(Du –Gay:1996,Boje:2001)and those which consider visual meaning largely in isolation from language(e.g. Rogoff:1998,Mirzoeff:1999 ).Ogborn (1998)points out that , “The project of multimodality is an attempt to make the point overtly and decisively that an interest in representational modes other than speech or writing is essential and not merely incidentally interesting; that it is central to actual forms of communication everywhere, and not simply a kind of tangential or marginal concern which could be taken up or not, but which leaves language at the centre of communication” Osborn’s (1998) proposal rests on the hypotheses that all meaning making is multimodal. For example, when one writes, one will be deploying a linguistic meaning resource and a visual semiotic resource system through font, alphabets and paragraphing etc.
Multimodality according to Ideema (2003) does not priori privilege language over images but shows how the two are heavily dependent on the other in meaning making. As an emerging area of study multimodality also recognises that language is not the only form of communication as it occurs in combination with other forms. Multimodality treats the meanings of text as a potential rather than as fixed since meaning lies not so much individually in language or visuals but through their membership of a code which is ‘visual grammar’ which gives the poster the potential to mean. In Multimodal discourse analysis visual images can be read as ‘text ‘ while the metaphor of ‘grammar’ is not a set of rules for the correct use of language but rather a set of socially constructed resources for the construction of meaning(Kress and Van Leeuwen : 2001).
Systemic Functional Linguistics is relevant to the kind of data that this research seeks to examine since it offers a descriptive and interpretative framework for explaining language and visual semiotics as strategic meaning making resources in social contexts. Systemic Functional Linguistics has to date provided a comprehensive approach to language (Halliday:2002,Baldry and Thibault:2006,Iedema:2001,Martinec:2005)and according to Christian (2004) it advances four main theoretical claims namely:
1. That language use is functional.
2. That its function is to make meanings.
3. That these meanings are influenced by the social and cultural context in which they are exchanged.
4. That the process of using language is a semiotic process, a process of making meaning by choices.
Language is obtained as functional and not primarily as a tool to convey ideas but to also get things done and in the context of HIV and AIDS posters, to get to change people’s behaviour towards HIV and AIDS through the various interpretations of the messages in posters. These theoretical claims also capture how language according to Halliday (1975) has developed in response to three kinds of social-functional’ needs’ which he calls metafunctions namely ,ideational, interpersonal and textual which work simultaneously in a piece of language. These three metafunctions are used by Van Leeuwen (2006) to develop a grammar to ‘read ‘images ‘using representation, interactive and compositional corresponding to Hallydyan terms respectively. The major strength of systemic Functional theory for this study which is a multimodal discourse analysis is Halliday’s metafunctional principle which provides an integrating platform for theorizing how semiotic resources and choices interact in multimodal discourses such as HIV and AIDS posters to create meaning.
Systemic Functional Linguists define language as a systematic resource and to them the organising principle in the linguistic description is a system rather than structure, that is, as semiotic potential and as description of choice (Chapelle: 2004). The set of choices in a particular linguistic context is called a system and a set of systems form a linguistic network and this notion of system goes back to Ferdinand de Saussure and his paradigmatic relations in signs in a system of meaning making. A systemic network according to Christian (2004) describes the options available to language both in terms of choices available and the structural consequences of those choices. The available choices depend on aspects and context in which the language is being used and these choices can either be, semantic, lexicogrammar or phonological. The flexibility of this approach is relevant to this research which also focuses on semantic and lexicogrammar because it maintains the fundamental definition of language and visuals as a resource for meaning potential in HIV and AIDS posters. The unit of analysis for systemic Functional Linguists is the text which can be regarded as the poster in this study while the functional meaning potential of language is realised in units no smaller than texts and these smaller units must be viewed from their perspective of their contribution to the meaning expressed by the total text in context. According to Halliday (1985, p10)”For a linguist to describe language without accounting for the text is sterile, to describe text without relating it to language is vacuous. In light of Systemic Functional Linguistics approach towards multimodal discourse analysis this study regards HIV and AIDS posters as text. This study adopts Halliday’s language semiotic system in the context of how language interacts with other semiotic resources to create multimodal texts. According to Halliday (1994),”we all the time exchange meanings, and the exchange of meanings is a creative process in which language is one symbolic resource-perhaps the principal one we have, but still one among others” (Halliday, 1978, 4) and “When I say ‘social semiotic in the first instance am simply referring to the definition of a social system, or a culture, as a system of meanings. But I also intend a more specific interpretation of the word ‘social’, to indicate that we are concerned particularly with the relationship between language and social structure, considering the social structure as one aspect of the social system (Halliday, 1994, p4) In this light Halliday’s definition of ‘social semiotic’ can be seen to apply also to semiotic systems other than language such as visuals and the relationship between context and text.
Van Leeuwen’s (2005) multimodal approach which informs this study is built on the work of Halliday who argued that, “the grammar of a language is not a code, not a set of rules for producing correct sentences but’ a resource for making meanings’ (Halliday: 1978p192). Van Leeuwen (2005) extends the idea of ‘grammar ‘of semiotic modes such as ,visuals and goes on to define semiotic resources as the actions and artefacts used in communication. Multimodal analysis considers the complexity of texts or representations as they are and less frequently how it is that such constructs came about, that is it is oriented towards finished and finite texts. This is particularly important to this study which focuses on HIV and AIDS campaign posters as finite texts.
This study adopts Halliday’s language semiotic system and how language interacts with other semiotic resources to create multimodal texts. According to Halliday (1978),”we all the time exchange meanings, and the exchange of meanings is a creative process in which language is one symbolic resource-perhaps the principal one we have, but still one among others”(Halliday,1978,4).In this light Halliday’s definition of ‘social semiotic’ can be seen to apply also to semiotic systems other than language. This study also adopts Royce’s (1998) intersemiotic complementarity of language and visual images,”where visual and verbal modes semantically complement each other to produce single textual phenomena” (Royce: 1998).
This study by identifying and discussing the multimodal features of HIV and AIDS posters recognises the importance of aesthetics and formal qualities of these posters and privileges the poster designers as the principal in the process of pre-ordained messages while exploring the various interpretations privileges the position of the Zimbabwean audience As pointed out by Royce (2007:p63)
”there still remains a lack of research on the nature of intersemiotic relationships to explain what features make multimodal text visually –verbally coherent.”

1.1 Statement of the problem.

While evidence point out to the decrease of the HIV and AIDS adult prevalence rate from 23.7% in 2001 to 14.3%in 2010, the numbers of people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS are still high .HIV and AIDS continue to claim many lives in Zimbabwe despite the vigorous media campaigns and various intervention programmes. Faced with this problem there is a need for Zimbabwean researchers from different fields to engage in qualitative research studies that may lead to a better understanding of why existing media campaigns such as, use of posters have not been entirely successful in preventing and influencing behavioural change towards HIV and AIDS. This study is a heed to the call from the point of view of language and visual aspects of HIV and AIDS campaign posters.

HIV and AIDS messages, in some cases have been misinterpreted or lost since some of the multimodal texts are unfamiliar and contradictory to the everyday life and experiences of Zimbabweans. In some posters, visual and linguistic aspects contradict each other making the posters incoherent while much of the audience lacks visual literacy. Some posters do not reflect the prevailing socio-cultural norms, values and aspirations of the Zimbabwean community while some reinforce silence, stigma and discrimination.

This study by identifying the multimodal features used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters and how they are used in meaning negotiation and their various interpretations hopes that some insights maybe uncovered as to how multimodal aspects of posters can be effectively utilised to combat HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe 1.1 Research Questions.

* What multimodal aspects (linguistic and visual) are used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare? * How multimodal aspects are (linguistic and visual) used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare? * What are the communicative functions of multimodal features (linguistic and visual) used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare? * What are the various interpretations of messages in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare?

1.2 Objectives of the study.

The objectives of the study are:

* To establish how multimodal features are used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare and to determine their communicative functions. * To evaluate how multimodal features in HIV and AIDS campaign posters act as aids or barriers in communicating HIV and AIDS messages. * To explore the various interpretations of multimodal messages in HIV and AIDS campaign posters in Harare.

1.3 Background to study. The first reported case of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe occurred in 1985 and over three decades into the HIV and AIDS epidemic, the numbers of those infected and affected continue to rise even though knowledge about its effects are high. Zimbabwe is among the countries hardest hit by HIV and AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is estimated that more than 25% of the population is living with HIV and AIDS. (UNICEF: 2010).HIV and AIDS prevalence rate is thought to have declined, making Zimbabwe one of the first African countries to witness such a trend. According to government figures, the adult prevalence rate was 23.7% in 2001 and it fell to 14.3% in 2010.Despite this remarkable decrease in HIV and AIDS prevalence rates the figures are still too high and there is a need to develop effective communication strategies to combat the epidemic.

HIV and AIDS remains the greatest sustainable human development challenge for Zimbabwe as its impacts have increasingly become complex affecting all economic and social sectors and every Zimbabwean is either infected or affected by the disease. The impacts range from declining life expectancy, economic productivity, education, health, agriculture and human capital development. It is evident that the epidemic is spreading along the fault lines of economic development as evidenced by the social and structural drives of the epidemic such as, poverty, gender inequality, migration and transactional sex.

HIV and AIDS according to Kreniske and Vincent (2002) arrived in Africa in the early 1970’s and it claimed its first victims in the early 1980’s. HIV is an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV damages a person’s body by destroying CD+T cells which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases leaving an individual susceptible to opportunistic infections. (Kilmarx: 2008)AIDS itself does not kill but people die from infections such as, flu, diarrhoea, pneumonia or tuberculosis.

HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the blood stream within a bodily fluid containing HIV such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid and breast milk. The transmission can involve anal,vaginal or oral sex,blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth or other exposure to one of the above body fluids(Gaur et al:2005) .

With no cure or vaccine for HIV and AIDS there have been calls for effective health communication strategies (Ratzan: 200, United Nations: 2001).UNAIDS (1999) reported that while major breakthroughs both in types and costs of treatment are transforming the response to HIV and AIDS, communication continues to hold the key to containing the spread of information and coping with the effects of the pandemic. Communication in the fight against HIV and AIDS can only be regarded as effective if it obtains the desired effect of altering the behaviour of the target audience.

Efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe have been spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Non-Governmental Organisations, National Aids Council, religious and academic organisations through various media such as, television, radio, drama, songs, poetry, pamphlets, billboards and posters. Despite the concerted efforts by the media, Government of Zimbabwe, Non-Governmental Organisations and other stake holders to disseminate information on HIV and AIDS, the numbers of those infected by HIV and AIDS are still high even though Zimbabwe has witnessed a dramatic decrease in HIV and AIDS prevalence rate from 17% in1997 to just over 14.3%in 2010(UNAIDS: 2012). This then begs the question has the media such as posters been effective in disseminating information on HIV and AIDS?.

In Zimbabwe posters constitute the majority of the material produced for HIV and AIDS campaigns since HIV and AIDS intervention concerns behavioural change. Posters ,’using bold images and slogans in order to attract attention’(Linney:1995:7)have been found to be an effective media in communicating HIV and AIDS messages especially in less developed countries such as Zimbabwe where big media such as internet and television do not reach the majority of the people. HIV and AIDS messages in Zimbabwe are mainly influenced by four main theories namely, The Health Belief Model, The Aids Risk Reduction Model, Theory of Reasoned Action and Stages of Change Theory(Martins:2009). The main objective of HIV and AIDS campaign posters as any other Health communication media is to reinforce attitudes or to change people’s behavioural patterns. Ideally images in HIV and AIDS posters should be used to support, emphasize, compliment or substitute for the written text and not to dress up the poster but in some posters there are disparities of co-occurrence between image and text as each constructs a different reality.

The Zimbabwean Government has played a leading role in defining responses to HIV and AIDS by putting in place policy tools and frameworks to combat HIV and AIDS. Arguably government policy exerts the most influence on social change, having the power to influence environmental forces for the benefit of individuals and societies health outcomes. In 1988 the government put in place a five year plan (National Aids Strategic Plan 1988-1992) that facilitated the planning, co-ordination, implementation and monitoring of HIV and AIDS prevention and control activities at all levels. Another strategic plan National Aids Strategic Plan 1993-1998 (NASP1) was formulated and its main focus was the prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS.

In 1999 the Government formed the National Aids Council (NAC) which administers the National AIDS Trust Fund through the AIDS levy collected from every worker’s taxable income (PAYE) and corporate tax. In 2003 the government declared HIV and AIDS an emergency leading to increased importation of Anti Retro Viral drugs (ARV).In 2004 Zimbabwe launched the National Antiretroviral Programme and this gave prominence to care and treatment with emphasis on Counselling and Testing, Psychosocial support, prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections, access to nutritional care, access to ART and palliative and community home based care.
Table 1: Summary the HIV and AIDS Government of Zimbabwe policies influencing Health messages between 2006 and 2010. POLICY | YEAR | PMTCT and Paediatric HIV Prevention, Care National Plan | 2006-2010 | National Female Condom Strategy | 2006-2010 | Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy for The SADC Region | 2006-2015 | Ministry of Health and Child Welfare National Community and Home Based Care | 2009 | National Behavioural Change Strategy | 2006-2010 |

Zimbabwe’s responses TO HIV and AIDS between 2006 and 2010 were informed by the Zimbabwe National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2006-2010.This framework also served to fulfil international and Regional obligations including,Millenium Development Goals, United Nations Declaration of Commitment(UNGASS),2011 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, Maseru and Brazzaville Declarations and the Maputo Plan of Action. This period is of interest to this research since some of the HIV and AIDS posters produced during this period were influenced by these international events. Posters under study in this research fall within the period of ZNASP 2006-2010 which articulated four thematic areas for the national response namely, prevention of new infections, treatment and care, mitigation and support, coordination and management.
Table 2: Components of ZNASP 1(2006-2010) PREVENTION | TREATMENT&CARE | MITIGATION & SUPPORT | COORDINATION&MANAGEMENT | -Prevention of mother to child(PMTCT)-HIV and AIDS Counselling and Testing(HCT)-Condoms-Behaviour Change Communication(BCC)-Youth-Male Circumcision(MC)-Sexually transmitted infections(STI)-Blood safety-Workplace-Gender-Advocacy | -Antiretroviral therapy(ART)-Opportunistic Infections(OI)-Laboratory services-Home based care(HBC) | -Orphans and Vulnerable Children(OVC)-Meaningful involvement of PLHIV(MIPA)-Nutrition-Water and Sanitation | -Strengthening leadership role of NAC-Strengthening coordination role of NAC-Strengthening planning and management role of NAC-Strengthening M&E capacity at National, provincial and district level |
Source: ZNASP 1(2011-2015)
Some of the achievements made during the implementation of the ZNASP 1(2006-2010) according to the ZNSASP 2(2011-2015) interim evaluation conducted in 2009 showed that during this period: * More people had comprehensive knowledge of HIV and AIDS. * There was an increase in condom use at last sex with all non-regular partners and 150million condoms were distributed in 2010 and 15,426,325 female condoms between 2006 and 2009. * There was an increase in the number of people ever tested for HIV.Couple counselling increased from 12% in 2007 to 25% in 2009. * Annual incidence declined from1.14% in2006 to 0.85% in 2009, while HIV prevalence equally declined by almost 50%from 27.2%in 2008 to 14.26& in 2009. * Voluntary male circumcision was adopted and by the end of September 2010 11,102 men had been circumcised. * Number of STIs treated declined by approximately 55% from 480, 00 in 2006 to 268,00 in 2009. * By December 2010, 326,241 of the 593,168 were receiving ART treatment.
The evaluation also noted some challenges encountered during the implementation of the ZNASP 1(2006-2010).Some of the challenges included; * Uptake of ART remained low at 59% in 2010. * Inadequate implementation of interventions targeting key or most at risk populations. * Stigma and discrimination not adequately addressed in the National Behaviour and Communication Programme (NBCP).HIV and AIDS related stigma prevented the utilization of PMTCT services. * Poor and low quality of life skills based HIV education provided. * Inadequate coverage of people through workplace based HIV and AIDS education. * While condom education has been widely conducted, many people still lack adequate knowledge on correct use of condoms. * Myths, misconceptions and negative perception by consumers of public sector distributed condoms persist. * Female condoms uptake has remained low compared to the male condoms. * Low uptake of male circumcision attributed to low levels of community mobilisation and education on male circumcision. * Lack of availability to all women of a standardised comprehensive gender sensitive package in PMTCT services such as contraception and ART for mothers taking into consideration 2009 WHO guidelines. * Inadequate awareness and knowledge among the general population of STIs and their relationship with HIV and AIDS. * Inadequate education and awareness of Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) among people and communities and low uptake of PEP services due to lack of awareness and stigma associated with HIV and AIDS or rape. * Lack of awareness among duty bearers of existing policies and legislation designed to support an enabling environment and reduction of stigma and discrimination.
In light of the challenges and successes noted in the implementation of the ZNASP 1(2006-2010) it becomes important to analyse HIV and AIDS posters used in implementing the objectives of the ZNASP1 (2006-2010) from a linguistic perspectives by analysing how these messages were framed and their various interpretations which could have led to some of the successes and challenges faced during this period.
The political context of Zimbabwe has influenced the quality of health campaign messages. In 2009, Zimbabwe witnessed the formation of a Government of National Unity and politics has been noted to influence the production of health messages. In Zimbabwe there exist the potential for the politicisation of non-political messages when non-political messages are linked to political messages and a notable example is when politically sensitive flyers were placed in condom packs with the statement ‘Zvakwana’’Enough is enough’a slogan for the Movement of Democratic Change Party (MDC).In addition MDC was regarded as a condom because of its previous association with foreigners .Foreign donors on the other hand have been accused by the Zimbabwean government of being politically motivated .The fight against HIV and AIDS has also been politicised by donor countries who have reduced HIV and AIDS aid to Zimbabwe thereby hampering the government’s efforts to contain the disease.
The cultural context of Zimbabwe also has a bearing on the quality of HIV and AIDS messages especially on the use of language. Culture shapes an individual’s understanding of health concerns, since the meanings of health, drugs, treatment and illness are culturally constructed and in Zimbabwe efforts to ground HIV and AIDS messages in Zimbabwean culture are apparent in some posters and surprisingly absent in others (ZNSAPI-2006-2010) .HIV and AIDS is a medical issue and to a large extent a cultural production since it has been associated with moral beliefs and social prejudices. Responses to the pandemic are similar to any socio-sexual crisis such as sexually transmitted diseases infections in which the network of relationships in the form of biomedical,cultural,legal,political,psycho-social exist around ,“are interwoven dynamics of exceeding complexity”(Close:1998)about viral transmission and infection.
The Zimbabwean culture when it comes to sexuality ends up affecting the content and interpretation of messages since there is some silence regarding the subject of sex.The choice of posters in English and Shona is by no means incidental because English Language is the official Language in Zimbabwe while Shona is mainly spoken in Harare where the study is carried out. Looking at HIV and AIDS posters in the two languages also allows the researcher to find out whether the same message is communicated in the two languages. A multimodal discourse analysis of HIV and AIDS posters also allows the researcher to explore the richness of the Zimbabwean culture which does not permit the direct mentioning of sex related issues in Shona or even English preferring to use euphemisms, metonyms, indirectness or metaphors thus interrogating Kangira’s statement that’Shona like any other African Language is limited in terminology that can be used in HIV and AIDS messages’ (Kangira et al: 2007, Chewa: 2004)
HIV and AIDS remains highly stigmatised and many people are afraid of been tested for fear of being socially alienated and losing their partner or jobs. Government emphasised the importance of Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV and AIDS in the National AIDS Policy (1999)and in between 2005 and 2010 health facilities offering HIV and AIDS testing and counselling increased from 395 to 1218 but still only 20% of the population knew their status(NAC:2010)Those who knew their status did not make it publicly known, which means they did not have access to sufficient care and support( ZNASP 2 2011-2015).Attempts to fight stigma in messages such as “Do not be negative about being positive “ which encouraged people to reveal their HIV and AIDS status reduced stigma but have not been totally successful in reducing stigmatisation. Such posters actually reinforce stigma and discrimination.
The fight against HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe is also deeply rooted in cultural dynamics of gender. Constrictive attitudes towards female sexuality often contrast with lenient ones towards the sexual activity of men resulting in a situation where men have multiple sex partners and women having little authority to instigate condom use. In this light prevention campaigns that emphasize safe sex and abstinence often fail to take into account these realities (NAC:2009).Gender norms and expectations of how people should behave also affects Zimbabwean men negatively .For example having multiple partners and taking risks ,behaviour that is associated with masculinity expose men to HIV and AIDS.(ZNASP1 2006-2010).In Zimbabwe it seems that HIV and AIDS posters are used to communicate a scientific rather than a cultural explanation of information surrounding HIV and AIDS messages and as stated by Avert(2010),African states ,Zimbabwe included still need to do more in improving messages about HIV and AIDS. 1.4 Significance of study.
This study is significant in a number of ways Despite the grave consequences of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe and the great potential that posters have for influencing public health change, the emphasis of HIV and AIDS research has been on large media such as, television, radio and newspapers for example and not on small media such as posters .A considerable amount of work on HIV and AIDS posters has concentrated exclusively on language or on visual aspects of posters. In the Zimbabwean context, to the best of my knowledge no one has looked at the multimodal aspects of HIV and AIDS posters. Hence this study is a pioneering multimodal discourse analysis of HIV and AIDS campaign posters used in Harare.
The motivation for this study arises from the fact that in the absence of pharmacological, immunological and medical interventions communication through HIV and AIDS campaign posters is the key to understanding issues relating to HIV and AIDS and its prevention. The results of this study can be used by poster designers to improve on how HIV and AIDS messages are framed and for pretesting and validation of visual health campaign material. As pointed out by Royce (2007:p63)”there still remains a lack of research on the nature of intersemiotic relationships to explain what features make multimodal text visually –verbally coherent”.
This study also gives new insights into the study of multimodal discourse analysis and HIV and AIDS campaign messages. Various scholars have shown interest in the emerging linguistics field of discourse analys.By studying how visual and language co-occur in meaning making and negotiation in HIV and AIDS posters this study should obtain a more subtle view of the relationship between visual features and language and how this relationship can lead to various interpretations .The results of this study have implications on the effective designing and framing of HIV and AIDS and health messages in poster campaigns in general and in Zimbabwe in particular. The study also assists the general public in improving their visual literacy skills.
Theoretically the outcomes of this study will be useful in the field of Sociolinguistics, multimodal discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, Health Communication specifically health campaigns, medical discourse and Discourse studies. The study is intended to add on to the interaction of visual and linguistic semiotic resources in HIV and AIDS posters and it will greatly assist HIV and AIDS campaign posters designers to develop effective messages. 1.5 Summary of chapter.
In this chapter, the researcher presented the area of investigation. The examines visual and linguistic features such as used in HIV and AIDS campaign posters used in Harare. The study argues that visual and linguistic elements complement each other in meaning making .By way of background the researcher discussed the origins of HIV and AIDS, Government’s response to HIV and AIDS, factors and policies which influence the framing of HIV and AIDS messages and the institutional, socio-cultural, historical and political factors that may influence the various interpretation of the posters by a Zimbabwean audience. The researcher also highlighted the significance of this study in terms of its theoretical and practical contributions. 1.6 Organisation of study.

Chapter 2 gives a critical review of literature on multimodal discourse analysis, systemic functional linguistics, functions of HIV and AIDS posters and theories of Health Communication. Chapter 3 discusses the theoretical framework and a description of the posters and methodologies adopted. Chapters 4 to 6 provide the data and analysis in terms of multimodal features of HIV and AIDS posters and the various interpretations of these posters. Chapter 7 is the conclusion.

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