181668 Effects of the Malawi BRIDGE Radio Diaries on HIV-related stigma in Malawi: An experimental design in the field

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alisha H. Creel, PhD , Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Kirsten Böse, MHS , Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Glory Mkandawire , Malawi BRIDGE Project, Lilongwe, Malawi
Lisa K. Folda, MHS , Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, MD
Jane W. Brown, MPH , Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, MD
Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Few studies on HIV/AIDS stigma have manipulated exposure to mass media messages to study their effects. This study used an experimental design to evaluate the effects of a radio program featuring men and women with HIV (Radio Diaries program) on HIV-related stigma in Malawi. Methods: Thirty villages with 10 participants each were randomized to one of three study conditions: intervention (listened to Radio Diaries), intervention plus discussion (listened to Radio Diaries followed by a moderated formal discussion) and control (listened to a radio program unrelated to HIV). Post-intervention interviews assessed stigma indicators such as fear of casual contact, shame related to HIV, blame and judgment, and disclosure of HIV status. Results: The intervention group reported significantly lower levels of fear of casual contact and shame than the control group. The intervention + discussion group reported significantly lower levels of fear of casual contact and blame/judgment than the control group but significantly higher levels of shame than the intervention-only group. Interactions indicated that the intervention reduced blame/judgment for men and not women and for participants age 18-24 and not older participants. The intervention had a greater effect on shame in participants who did not report having a close friend or relative with HIV, as participants who did report knowing someone had significantly lower levels of shame across groups. Conclusions: Including people living with HIV/AIDS in communication interventions has strong potential to reduce various aspects of HIV-related stigma. Future studies should look at gender and age differences in stigma.

Learning Objectives:
Assess the effectiveness of including people living with HIV/AIDS in anti-stigma communication interventions. Adapt experimental methods for field settings.

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Evaluation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I designed and conducted the study and analyzed the data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.