224721 Using radio to reduce stigma, improve knowledge and promote HIV testing: The Malawi Radio Diaries program

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Glory Mkandawire , Malawi BRIDGE Project, Lilongwe, Malawi
Joel Suzi , Malawi BRIDGE Project, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Lilongwe, Malawi
Triza Kakhobwe , Malawi BRIDGE Project, Lilongwe, Malawi
Rupali Limaye, MA, MPH , Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Peter Roberts , Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Lilongwe, Malawi
John Kadzandira , J&F Consult, Blantyre, Malawi
Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Mass media programs have made significant strides in preventing HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa, but few large-scale programs have been undertaken to reduce stigma toward people living with HIV. This paper examines effects associated with the Malawi Radio Diaries program, a radio show in which HIV-positive persons tell their stories, which was broadcast on six stations for more than four years as part of the Malawi BRIDGE Project. Methods: Survey interviews (N=3,843) were conducted in all eight BRIDGE districts. Each district was stratified by intervention or control sites, and households were randomly sampled from within each site for inclusion of one member per household into the study. Variables in this study included exposure to the Radio Diaries program (frequency of listening and attention paid); perceived similarity with HIV-positive persons (8 items, α=.90); two dimensions of stigma: fear of casual contact (5 items, α=.88) and shame (3 items, α=.92); knowledge about HIV (15 items, α=.49); and HIV testing. Results: Multiple linear regressions showed that, controlling for age, education, and income, exposure to the program was significantly greater in treatment than in control sites (=.08, P<.001), and all outcomes were associated with exposure to the program (all Ps<.01). Conclusion: The BRIDGE Project enhanced exposure to the Radio Diaries program, and exposure was associated with lower stigma toward and greater similarity with persons living with HIV, higher knowledge about HIV, and greater rates of HIV testing. Radio continues to be a significant tool in the fight against HIV in Malawi.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify stigma-related factors that can be impacted by a radio program. 2. Apply concepts from health behavior change theory in an intervention setting. 3. Discuss link between intervention exposure with stigma and HIV testing.

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Media Campaigns

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceptualized the research, analyzed data, and partially wrote the abstract
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.