Media saturation, communication exposure and HIV stigma in Nigeria
HIV-related stigma constitutes an impediment to public health as it hampers HIV/AIDS control efforts in many ways. To address the complex problems of increasing HIV infection rate, widespread misinformation about the infection and the rising level of HIV-related stigma, the various tiers of government in Nigeria are working with local and international non-governmental organizations to develop and implement strategic communication programs. This paper assesses the link between these communication efforts and HIV-related stigma using data from a nationally representative household survey. The results show that accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV are more prevalent among men than among women. Exposure to HIV-related communication on the media is associated with increased knowledge about HIV, which is in turn a strong predictor of accepting attitudes. Communication exposure also has a significant and positive association with accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV. In contrast, community media saturation is not strongly linked with accepting attitudes for either sex. The findings strongly suggest that media-based HIV programs constitute an effective strategy to combat HIV/AIDS-related stigma and should therefore be intensified in Nigeria.
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