The threat that HIV/AIDS poses to sub-Saharan Africa is staggering. The region accounts for ∼73% of the world’s 40 million HIV cases (UNAIDS, 2002), with <30 000 of its 28.5 million infected having access to antiretroviral drugs. The disease is the leading cause of death in the region projected to claim 68 million lives between 2000 and 2020.
With no vaccine or cure for HIV/AIDS, there have been calls for improvements in health communication, education and prevention (Livingston, 1993; Ratzan, 2000; World Bank, 2000; United Nations, 2001). Over the past two decades, HIV/AIDS public health campaigns have become common around the world, with research focusing primarily on the content and effects of public service announcements (Freimuth et al., 1990; DeJong and Winsten, 1992; Johnson et al., 1997; DeJong et al., 2001). In the developed world, the television medium has been found to be a much more effective means for HIV prevention than ‘small media’ such as posters (Ross and Scott, 1993).