This article explains how participatory approaches are now being developed to tackle the triple taboo subjects of sex, gender and death, which are enshrined in the HIV pandemic. It describes the exciting work to tackle the challenges facing development workers in helping people overcome their fears and address these important issues. It explores how more conventional top-down approaches to health education, which ignore the roles of gender and conflict, have largely failed to help people change behaviour - they may bring issues to greater public attention, but dial to change most people's personal actions in their private lives. It describes how recent, more innovative approaches have drawn on the rich wealth of participatory development experience in Asia and how these approaches are now beginning to help individuals, their peers and communities cope with the AIDS tragedy for themselves. The article also describes an understanding of how behaviour changes, in order to do so more effectively.
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