Can television programmes improve people's health? Naomi Marks has been glued to a new Cambodian show, which is hoping to improve awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS
When a student nurse is seen on television enjoying a night of drunken, condomless passion, it will, AIDS educators hope, prove compelling, edge of the seat stuff for millions of Cambodian peasants. “Will the student contract HIV?” “How will his friends and colleagues treat him if he has?” “Where willhis future then lie?”
Twenty five years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia's largely rural population is being introduced to a style of television drama that is more familiar in the decadent West. Soap opera is hitting the Cambodian countryside.
But this is a soap with a difference—one that will provide as many answers as it does questions. For the hospital drama series, Rous Cheat Chivit [Taste of Life], is a new and, it is intended, entertaining way to educate the Cambodian people in the facts of HIV and AIDS.
“By the time our student nurse has his HIV