The Semiotics of HIV/AIDS Bill-Boards and Their Communication Implications: The Case of Bahir Dar and Gondar Towns in Ethiopia

Cherie Mesfin Gessesse 1 *, Lemma Kassaye Sileshi

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The study was designed to identify the types of the visual semiotic signs used by different stakeholders who design and prepare billboards on HIV/ADIS to provide mainly the residents of Bahir Dar and Gondar towns with varied information about the epidemic. Besides, it was conducted to tap on the most commonly used visual semiotic signs and the kernel messages represented by these signs during the representational processes of the realities as regards to HIV/AIDS. Consequently, all the 26 HIV/AIDS visual semiotic signs were collected from 22 working billboards that were put up in the main high ways of Bahir Dar and Gondar towns during March, 2011 and analysed qualitatively using Pierce’s model. The major results of the study showed that it was wholly the visual iconic signs which were used to represent a range of messages as regards to the HIV/AIDS puzzle unlike the indexical and symbolic signs which were the missed opportunities. There also appeared to be some knowledge gap among stakeholders in HIV/ADIS visual semiotic sign communication systems concerning the actual applications of the visual semiotic signs: indexes and symbols were not considered to transfer the intended messages.


Communication Semiotics Signs Billboard HIV/AIDS


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp. 240-275

Published Online: 24 Jun 2018

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