February 2012


4-10 February 2012—HIV News Update.

Editorial: We take note of the challenges in HIV reporting


  • News blues: It is not uncommon for people to complain that the news, especially HIV-related news, is too depressing to merit much attention. However the real reason why the news gives people the blues might have more to do with the feeling of powerlessness it can generate than its ‘gloomy’ content.
  • South Africans get HIV savvy: HIV-related questions posed by readers in February’s edition of Bona magazine not only bode well for the normalisation of HIV but also indicate that South Africans are becoming more HIV savvy.
  • HIV terminology: Say it right: The New Age (TNA) continues to willingly and refreshingly engage with HIV through regular stories and reports. But using the correct terminology to write about the subject accurately and sensitively is equally important as having HIV feature in the news regularly.

In the news:

  • NGOs in plea for Aids, TB funding (The Star)
  • Find his secret sex zone (Move!)
  • Health service on brink of collapse (The Star)

11-17 February 2012—HIV News Update

Editorial: The media breaks the awkward silence around sex and HIV


  • Famous faces can hurt efforts aimed at addressing HIV: In the wake of local actress Lesego Motsepe's astonishing public announcement, a column in Tuesday’s (14 February 2012) The Times questions the value of using celeb power as a driver of causes and campaigns.
  • No love for the glove: The media fails to address STIs and condom use despite there being a week long window of opportunity.
  • Daily Sun glosses over HIV when it comes to MMC, PMTCT: Despite publishing articles on both pregnancy and medical amle circumcision (MMC) in Monday’s (13 February 2012) Health News section the Daily Sun neglects to include complete and accurate HIV information for both topics.
  • The good and the bad: Reporting on rape: An article in last week’s Saturday Star (11 February 2012) highlights the often-neglected issue of HIV as it relates to rape, but missteps by continuously referring to survivors of sexual assault and rape as “victims”.
  • Deal, or no deal? Last weekend saw the South African government and Swiss pharmaceutical giant Lonza in an on-again, off-again and then on-again agreement on the establishment of a South African-based drug plant that could lower the cost of ARVs.

In the news:

  • Teens debate sexual matters (The New Age)
  • HIV rate way down thanks to condoms (The Times)
  • Major successes in fighting HIV/Aids (TNA)
  • Captain Love leads the way (TNA)

17-23 February 2012—HIV News Update

Editorial: The threat that binds


  • Daily Sun does damage control: The Daily Sun has been the only source to provide some form of damage control following Lesego Motsepe’s gobsmacking announcement that she would discontinue ART in favour of beetroot and garlic, “Manto-style”.
  • Make the move to more sophisticated media: Media coverage of HIV largely focuses on medical doctors and HIV specialists, but last week’s (17-23 February) Mail&Guardian stole some of the limelight and focussed it on the lesser-lauded health professionals in a more sophisticated offering.
  • Move! confuses the ART issue: Given the continuing climate of uncertainty around HIV in South Africa journalists must be careful not to confuse HIV-related information.

In the news:

  • Prophylaxis: A right in name only (Mail&Guardian)
  • R1 trillion boost for bold plan (TNA)
  • HIV and food security (TNA)
  • The state of our Nation (DRUM)
  • Upbeat Mokonyane says Gauteng is improving people's lives (Sowetan)
  • Virgins hit the streets (Daily Sun)
  • Premier has a healthy new plan (The Star)
  • Pupils join the fight against HIV/AIDS (Daily Sun)
  • Saftas, from sex to soaps (The Star)

24 February-1 March 2012—HIV News Update

Editorial: A different story: Narratives for change


  • Public shouldn't be in the "no": Could the reluctance of whites, Indians and affluent blacks to participate in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) HIV survey have something to do with how HIV is represented in the media?
  • Demand more than a spoon full of sugar: The Daily Sun this week missed a good opportunity to impress upon its readers the importance of being an informed consumer of health care.
  • Bonitas bungles breast is best: A Bonitas sponsored article in last week’s Mail&Guardian appears to give a round-up of the pros and cons that dominate debates on infant-feeding in South Africa, following big changes in government policy last year (including the withdrawal of free infant formula). But on closer examination its engagement with the issue is superficial at best.
  • Daily Sun wraps up HIV prevention: This week the Daily Sun dedicated an entire page to an eye-catching article that conveyed useful HIV facts.
In the news:
  • 'School kicked out my HIV-postive kid' (Daily Sun)
  • Health care's looking well (Daily Sun)
  • Health spending gap narrowing (The Star)
  • Swazi Aids response in cash crisis (M&G)
  • Adaptation of 19th century opera brings home ongoing tragedy of TB (Saturday Star)
  • Love connection with Dr Khathide! (Daily Sun)
  • New HIV-Aids campaign aims for 35 000 SA students (TNA)
  • Tackling infant mortality (The Citizen)
  • Support for porn condoms (The Star)
  • Aids programmes close (TNA)


Wits Journalism Anova Health

The project is jointly managed by the Anova Health Institute and the Journalism and Media Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand, and supported by the Health Communication Partnership based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centre for Communication Programmes and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief through the United States Agency for International Development under terms of Award No. JH/HESA-02-05.