The impact of the Kenya Social Marketing Program on personal risk perception, perceived self-efficacy and on other behavioral predictors

Objective: To determine whether a mass media HIV/AIDS prevention campaign had an impact on personal risk perception, perceived self-efficacy and positive attitudes towards condoms.

Methods: We used household survey data collected from 2213 sexually experienced male and female Kenyans aged 15-39. Respondents were administered a questionnaire asking them about their exposure to branded and generic mass media messages concerning HIV/AIDS and condom use. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the impact of exposure to mass media messages on these predictors of behavior change.

Results: Exposure to branded advertising messages was associated with respondents’ higher level of personal self-efficacy, their greater belief in the efficacy of condoms, a lower level of perceived difficulty obtaining condoms and a greater openness in acknowledging that they knew someone who had HIV or had died of AIDS. Those exposed to branded messages were also more likely to consider themselves at higher risk of acquiring HIV and to believe in the severity of AIDS. Moreover, there was a dose-response relationship: a higher intensity of exposure to advertising was associated with more positive health beliefs.

Conclusions: Mass media campaigns that promote condom use as an attractive behavior are likely to encourage positive health beliefs. In Kenya, the social marketing campaign helped create an environment in which there was a greater recognition of personal risk for acquiring HIV, a stronger belief in the efficacy of condoms and a higher level of personal self-efficacy.