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Stigma and prejudice – Blog – Journ-AIDS

Stigma and prejudice – Media Watch

Sowetan continues to get it wrong

Sowetan continues to get it wrong

Following yesterday’s misleading coverage of a woman who developed abnormally large breasts, the Sowetan published a slightly more sophisticated article today, featuring commentary from the health minister.

Whilst the real essence of the story—the woman’s struggle to access corrective surgery—is afforded more weight this time around, the coverage still puts forward the idea that all ARVs have side effects like these.

Continue reading | 15 June 2012 | 0 Comments
DRUM ‘out and proud’ and addressing HIV

DRUM ‘out and proud’ and addressing HIV

By publishing stories that highlight acceptance of homosexuality and same sex sexual practices, DRUM inadvertently gives HIV-prevention and treatment among men who have sex with men (MSM) a leg-up.

This week DRUM magazine published a feature story on local gay choreographer Somizi Mhlongo, emphasising his mother’s acceptance and support of his sexual preference.

Stories like this could go a long way towards educating a public that still has ‘outbreaks’ of sometimes-violent homophobia, as exemplified by the 2006 murder of Zoliswa Nkonyana, whose killers were sentenced this week.

Continue reading | 3 February 2012 | 0 Comments | Tags: drum magazine, homophobia, msm
HIV and obesity a weighty issue

HIV and obesity a weighty issue

According to articles published by Health-e and Drum Magazine a new trend of intentionally gaining weight is emerging amongst those living with HIV.

Doctors indicate that people engaging in this behaviour are trying to distance themselves from thinness, which is often associated with HIV and AIDS.

But people living with the virus need to be warned against the consumption of fatty foods because they can interfere with the absorption of ARVs.

Continue reading | 20 January 2012 | 0 Comments | Tags: aids, drum magazine, health-e, obesity
Dastardly disclosure: Times leaves readers adrift

Dastardly disclosure: Times leaves readers adrift

The Times today reported on the outraged responses of two women implicated in a public email which alleges that they were part of an organised ring formed to maliciously infect men with HIV.

But the article in question does not provide any framework with which to make sense of the harmful and problematic behaviour of publicly disclosing a person’s HIV-status.

While The Times reports that the (legitimate) complaints of the two women lie in the fact that they have been wrongly and maliciously labeled HIV-positive, it is the action of the person who chose to make this conversation public that is considerably more worrying. This behaviour is even more worrying considering that the email clearly identifies 23 women by their first and last names and in some cases even features pictures.

Continue reading | 17 January 2012 | 0 Comments | Tags: disclosure, ethics, the times
Striking a balance: Normalisation vs trivialisation of HIV

Striking a balance: Normalisation vs trivialisation of HIV

Given the advances in treatment and the proliferation of stories on ‘positive role models,’ the media should be aware of the delicate balance between addressing stigma that people living with HIV often experience and trivialising HIV as a condition.

Another ‘living positively’ story was born last week when former Isidingo actress, Lesego Motsepe, chose World AIDS Day to make public that she has been living with HIV for over a decade.

In a context where HIV is now a manageable albeit chronic condition, personal good news stories around positive heroes often feature in the media.

And while these vignettes do have the potential to address stigma through normalising HIV (especially when they are backed by serious star-power, as is the case with Koyo Bala, Criselda Kananda and of course Motsepe herself), the media should ensure that that these personal stories are covered in such a way that they do not give people the impression that living with HIV is easy.

Continue reading | 6 December 2011 | 0 Comments | Tags: 'positive' role models, lesego motsepe, risk, stigma
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