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Entertainment–Education Radio Serial Drama and Outcomes Related to HIV Testing in Botswana

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Makgabaneng is an entertainment–education radio serial drama written and produced in Botswana to promote prevention of HIV. This effort is part of the national response to HIV/AIDS. Broadcast of the serial drama began in August 2001, and two new 15-minute episodes air each week. We examined associations between exposure to Makgabaneng and outcomes related to HIV testing, including stigmatizing attitudes, intention to be tested, talking with a partner about testing, and testing for HIV, among 555 sexually active respondents. The four measures of exposure to Makgabaneng were frequency of listening, duration of listening, talking about the program, and attentiveness to and identification with relevant characters. Data were collected approximately 18 months after the drama began airing. We found positive associations between exposure to the program and intermediate outcomes, including lower level of stigmatizing attitudes, stronger intention to have HIV testing, and talking to a partner about testing. Although associations were identified with all four measures of exposure, increased duration of listening was associated with more positive outcomes than the other measures. This finding suggests that longer term exposure to entertainment–education programming may be important for behavior change.