July 2011

1-7 July 2011—HIV News Update

In this issue:

  • The New Age comes to terms with HIV terminology: An article about a study which claims to have found a link between some ARVs and premature ageing in The New Age has used the correct HIV and AIDS related terminology in the correct context.
  • A (sensitive) picture is worth a thousand words: The New Age has managed to capture the plight of a group of HIV-positive children and give the story maximum impact through the accompanying photograph, without putting the already vulnerable children at risk of HIV-related stigma.
  • Spokesperson falls foul of the facts: An otherwise informative article on initiation and traditional male circumcision (TMC) by The New Age is marred by an inflammatory and dangerous quote.
  • MMC & initiation: Never the twain shall meet? It is traditional circumcision season and news coverage on the event has held its ground over the last few weeks. The Daily Sun has the latest offering 'The secrets of true initiation,' which distinguishes between circumcision and the initiation process as a whole. However the article presents a rather one-sided view of the initiation ritual, by being seemingly unwilling to engage the darker aspects of the phenomenon.
  • Horny housemates or guileless guinea pigs? Does the salacious (and unprotected) sex that has gone on in the context of the Big Brother social experiment indicate a failure on the side of producers or contestants?
  • HIV misinformation and the S.A. nation: The TAC has voiced concerns over research which has connected particular ARVs with diseases resulting from premature ageing. The organisation has pointed out that considering that adherence to treatment continues to be a barrier to effective HIV-care, the report could cause anxiety among ARV users which could result in them going off of their ARVs.
  • Sexy social science film promises an HIV education: Education on HIV has too often been sterile, boring and apparently unconnected with what people really get up to in the sack. A film by acclaimed Intersexions director Rolie Nikiwe is set to change all that. The film will not only explore the social aspects of HIV but promises a science lesson as part of the package.

7-14 July 2011—HIV News Update

In this issue:

  • Bad reporting: revealing the real scourge: An error ridden article by the South African Press Association (SAPA) has been used by various newspapers to report on a particular HIV-related landmark development.
  • A bitter (sweet) pill to swallow: An agreement between Gilead Sciences and the Medicines Patent Pool will allow developing countries to curb HIV through cheap ARVs; the effect might however be limited by a lack of provision of ARVs used in second line therapy.
  • Good intentions overshadow errors: An article in The New Age (TNA) exemplifies the importance of verification of information received from sources. The piece is also riddled with HIV-specific language and terminology issues which could affect the way HIV and AIDS and those who are affected by the conditions are perceived.
  • Balancing acts: HIV-reporting and the facts: An article in today's edition of The New Age (TNA) which reports on multiple concurrent partnerships (MCP) presents a somewhat one sided view of the different perspectives on the role of MCP in the HIV epidemic.
  • Businesses brush up on HIV: One of the few HIV-related stories to emerge over the last two weeks is around the role that corporates and employers could and should play in the healthcare sector, and specifically in HIV and AIDS-related care.

15-21 July 2011—HIV News Update.

In this issue:

  • HIV breakthrough bonanza: HIV-related coverage continues to be dominated by the latest breakthrough in HIV prevention: a potentially two-pronged approach to HIV prevention would see ARVs administered to both HIV-negative and HIV-positive people.
  • Prevention in the prison petri dish: The New Age (TNA) has reported that Leeuwkop prison now has a clinic, which provides HIV counseling and testing, antiretroviral treatment (ARV) and monitoring, as well as other primary healthcare services.
  • Campaign confirms that the cut is 'kind': Three years and more than 20 000 circumcisions later the Orange Farm mass circumcision project has seen a 75% reduction in new HIV infections and a 55% reduction in HIV prevalence.
  • Mixed feelings over proposed state-owned drug company: According to newspaper reports, the jury is out over the potential benefits and losses of a home grown, state-owned pharmaceutical company.

21-28 July 2011—HIV News Update

In this Issue:

  • Not exactly spoilt for 'Choice': Government condoms scrutinised: The New Age have chosen to highlight striking students’ demand for condoms among a list of other grievances that were laid before the management of Durban's University of Technology (DUT) during protests that began last week.
  • Building the bigger bogeyman: HIV…Or even worse…AIDS. The media and the public often shy away from these topics because they are (incorrectly) associated with serious lingering illness and death.
  • State-owned drug company: Seeking other solutions: The debate over whether the establishmen of a drug company owned by the government would be beneficial rages on.
  • The TAC and the CD4 score: In the late 1990s to the early 2000s the TAC led the civil disobedience campaign, taking the government to court in a bid to force Mbeki and his cabinet to provide the ARV neviripine to HIV-positive pregnant women in the public sector.
  • HIV note gets the nod from the Daily Sun: There’s no pulling the wool over Daily Sun reader Noga Kobe’s eyes when it comes to HIV. The Daily Sun featured an HIV myth busting letter written by Kobe as their winning letter in Tuesday’s edition.
  • Gauteng misses the HCT mark: Many Johannesburg based newspapers have run articles reporting that Gauteng has fallen just short of its HCT (HIV counseling and testing) target.
  • Traditional initiation season: The good, the bad and the ugly: In the wake of tragic but anticipated reports of injury and death linked to traditional initiation in general and circumcision in particular, communities are welcoming home circumcised men who left but a month ago as boys.

29 July-4 August 2011—HIV News Update

In this issue:

  • More on the foreskin furore: An article appearing in the M&G makes sensationalist and incorrect comments around a study of circumcision and HIV prevention.
  • DA puts DoH to the 'test': Going for an HIV test is daunting at the best of times without the added worry that the result might be a false negative. The Citizen and The Star newspapers have reported that a number of people tested for HIV at a Hillbrow clinic were told they had tested negative when they did in fact have HIV.
  • Who ya gonna call? Mythbusters! We’ve all woken to the 'sweet' sound of a mosquito hovering centimeters from our ear. Our response to this is usually to sit bolt upright in bed and flail around a la drunken Uncle Jimmy on the dance floor at a cousin’s wedding. When we’re satisfied that we’ve driven the little buggar away we generally flop back down and pass out until the next assault.
  • Turned away: No test, no treatment! The Times and the Sowetan have reported that a public clinic in the North West has refused patients treatment for various illnesses on the grounds that they would not consent to an HIV test.
  • HIV counsellors tread the path of protest: Volunteer HIV counsellors protest over unpaid stipends and broken promises.


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.