Addressing HIV in Zambia through traditional games

Janet Njelesani, Donald Njelesani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There has been a proliferation of organizations in Zambia touting the mobilization of traditional games as a tool to prevent HIV. However, there is a dearth of evidence on how culturally important activities like traditional games are being incorporated into programing. The purpose of this study was to explore how traditional games are used as a strategy to prevent HIV in Zambia. This qualitative study generated data from 17 case studies of HIV programs operating in Lusaka, Zambia. Observations of the programs were conducted and 44 interviews with program staff were completed. Participants believed that traditional games can engage youth while helping them learn about HIV. However, when traditional games were implemented, they were oversimplified and taught via regimented practices that did not foster critical thinking. This kind of implementation comes at the expense of the development of skills needed to retain and act on information essential for HIV prevention. The results of the study also reveal that due to the increase in cultural pride that has welcomed the revival of traditional games, there are opportunities to encourage government and political support for their systematic integration to address HIV in Zambia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019


  • HIV
  • Qualitative
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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