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Using Media to Promote Public Awareness of Early Detection of Kaposi's Sarcoma in Africa.



Despite its hallmark cutaneous presentation, most Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in Africa is diagnosed too late for effective treatment. Early diagnosis will only be achievable if patients with KS present earlier for care. We hypothesized that public awareness about KS can be enhanced through exposure to common media.


We developed educational messages regarding early detection of KS for the general African public portraying a three-part theme: "Look" (regularly examine one's skin/mouth), "Show" (bring to the attention of a healthcare provider any skin/mouth changes), and "Test" (ask for a biopsy for definitive diagnosis). We packaged the messages in three common media forms (comic strips, radio, and video) and tested their effect on increasing KS awareness among adults attending markets in Uganda. Participants were randomized to a single exposure to one of the media and evaluated for change in KS-related knowledge and attitudes.


Among 420 participants, media exposure resulted in increased ability to identify KS (from 0.95% pretest to 46% posttest); awareness that anyone is at risk for KS (29% to 50%); belief that they may be at risk (63% to 76%); and knowledge that definitive diagnosis requires biopsy (23% to 51%) (all p < 0.001). Most participants (96%) found the media culturally appropriate.


Exposure to media featuring a theme of "Look," "Show," and "Test" resulted in changes in knowledge and attitudes concerning KS among the general public in Uganda. High incidence and poor survival of KS in Africa are an impetus to further evaluate these media, which are freely available online.

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