Christian Science Monitor Explores Role of HIV-Positive Character on South African ‘Sesame Street’
The Christian Science Monitor today examines how the character Kami, a Muppet on "Takalani Sesame," the South African version of "Sesame Street," "tackle[s]" the cultural stigmatization that HIV-positive people in that country face. Of South African children ages two to 14, 5.6% are HIV-positive and 13% of children in that age group have lost at least one parent to AIDS, according to a study released last month by the African Human Science Research Council. According to the Monitor, "discrimination against those diagnosed as HIV-positive begins at an early age." Leverne Engel, studio producer of the show, said that the show's developers "could not ignore the issue of AIDS. That is the issue here, and dealing with it is vital when we think about the future of the country." No research is yet available about how effective the message is to the approximately eight million viewers, but "anecdotal evidence suggests that the new Muppet is reaching her audience" (Harman, Christian Science Monitor, 1/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.