Since the beginning of time, many of the plagues that we have faced have been global and catastrophic in nature- the Bubonic Plague for example decimated nearly 1/5 of the world population in the Middle Ages. In modern times, the later decades of the 20th century has seen a pandemic that is wrecking just as much havoc on the globe- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and one in particular- HIV and AIDs. The focus of this paper will explore past interventions using social marketing and Social Network Theory as their foundation to encourage condom usage to prevent the spread of STDs.
Public Health Concern
In modern times, STDs (such as HIV and AIDs) have wrecked such havoc upon the globe with more than 35.3 million being affected in 2012 (UNAIDS, 2013). Sub-Saharan Africa has become most affected by this disease, with little knowledge of prevention, means of transmission, and conflicts that stems progress of these countries. But it’s not only in these third world countries that HIV and AIDs have sway- in the US there are 1.2 million who live with disease in 2012. The utter destruction of the body’s immune system due to HIV/AIDs leaves those suffering from HIV/AIDs susceptible to dying from pneumonia and other easily treated diseases. The fact that such a disease can be prevented easily with condom usage and regular testing (Burke, 2012) is why there a great Public Health concern for condom usage among susceptible populations such as the youth, those who are sexually active, and drug users as well. As this disease has no known cure, it is critically important that public health organizations propagate the prevention of STDs via condom usage and tries to break down the stigma involved and bring communities together.
Social Marketing is a theory in which it takes business-marketing principles and applies them to public health concerns. As commercial marketing works towards profits and benefiting the marketer, social marketing works for the benefit for society and the consumer (Pealer 2014). The ultimate goal of social marketing is achieving voluntary behavioral change and adoption of healthier behavioral habits. In the 1970s, Kotler and Zaltman both promulgated that the same marketing principles used to sell products can be used to see ideas.
There are four principles to Social Marketing- product, price, place and promotion. Product is the health behavior you want to implement, the changes you want others to take to become healthier. Price is the “cost” of attaining the behavior, from financial barriers to social pressures inhibiting such health behaviors from taking root. Place is the channels to which one can reach the consumer and promotion are events, outreach programs, public service announcements advocating the behavior. In social marketing, one has to know the audience in question, know their demographics and know how they communicate in order to effectively send your...