Media Campaign Strategies in Communicating HIV/AIDS in Zambia: Comparing Risk and Crisis Communication Strategies in Mitigating Behavior Change Among Sex Workers

Gregory Gondwe, Eric Kwame Adae


This study examined the effects of emotions on risk concerns and behavior change among sex workers in Zambia. The aim was to investigate which health communication ad campaigns elicit emotions that lead to behavior change. Two types of HIV/AIDS ads were used for the analysis: Those focusing on eradicating the scourge by evoking negative emotions versus those aimed at fighting stigma with positive messages. Findings suggest that participants exposed to negatively framed ad campaigns were more likely to quit their sex working profession at follow-up than those exposed to ads designed to fight social stigma. In other words, negatively framed ad campaigns that invoked fear about HIV/AIDS were more likely to encourage behavior change among female sex workers in Zambia. The study speaks to the issue of risk versus crisis communication as they relate to how the Global North and South respond to stigma.


crisis communication, risk communication, negative emotions, HIV/AIDS, behavior change, Zambia

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