Association Between Exposure to an HIV Story Line in The Bold and the Beautiful and HIV–Related Stigma in Botswana
HIV stigma militates against prevention and care efforts and is a significant problem in sub–Saharan Africa. During 2001–2003, after collaboration with CDC scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the television drama The Bold and the Beautiful aired an HIV–related story line. The story line involved a man who tested positive for HIV, was accepted by his HIV–negative fiancée, and with her, adopted an AIDS orphan in Africa. We wished to test the hypothesis that viewers of this story line would report significantly lower AIDS–related stigma than nonviewers. We surveyed a sample of residents of Botswana shortly after the story line aired there. We assessed the association between viewership of the soap opera and HIV stigma. Compared with nonviewers of the show, viewers indicated significantly lower levels of HIV stigma, when other related factors were controlled statistically. These results are suggestive that stigma was reduced after watching a television drama in which HIV infection was treated in a nonstigmatizing, humane manner.