The use of mobile devices in HIV and AIDS communication: Opportunities for Botswana

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Masego B. Kebaetse
Thabo Phologolo


Mobile and internet technologies are increasingly becoming an integral part of HIV and AIDS prevention and care across Africa and the world. The high mobile device penetration in Botswana, estimated at about 160%, provides an invaluable opportunity to leverage the use of mobile devices to support HIV and AIDS prevention and care. A non-systematic review of the literature was conducted using three databases and Google Scholar to explore the use of mobile devices in supporting HIV and AIDS prevention and care in sub-Saharan Africa, and to draw lessons for potential application to Botswana. Short messaging service (SMS) is the most commonly used tool in ART adherence support for both medication and appointment reminders. Although privacy and confidentiality continue to be significant concerns, patients are generally willing to receive reminders and messages through their mobile phones. Patient-centred mobile health (mhealth) interventions are effective at improving care, but are not as effective in the area of prevention. Overall, programmes with better outcomes seem to be those with a multi-pronged approach in which technology is coupled with human interactions.

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