March 2012


2-8 March 2012—HIV News Update.

Editorial: Being HIV-savvy is essential, and now also easy


  • Uncritical coverage of Lebese's death: Uncritical and unquestioning coverage of soccer star Thabang Lebese’s death due to an AIDS-related illness could send public opinion of HIV back to the dark ages.
  • Daily Sun's shock and horror slant leads to re-stigmatisation: The Daily Sun's prioritisation of HIV-related stories is once again in evidence given last week Friday’s (2 March 2012) blaring front page headline, “AIDS pastor raped me!”. But the tabloid’s penchant for slanting stories towards shock has produced a stigmatising and unproductive HIV-related story.
  • Dailies should offer valuable HIV-coverage: At the end of last week the ANC announced its intentions to make HIV a notifiable disease. The divergent approaches taken by two news outlets covering the issue suggests that a major disparity exists in the quality of journalism between weekly and daily papers.
  • Media coverage's HIV paradigm shift: Magazine coverage of HIV takes on a new perspective featuring an emerging trend of mentioning HIV in conjunction with health rather than illness.
  • Not dead sure about mortality stats: City Press this week looks in to causes of death, offering its readers much-needed insight on how the nation keeps track of its mortalities.
  • Bona artcile doesn't cut it: By framing neonatal circumcision purely as a matter of parents’ beliefs, Bona magazine fails to properly inform its readers of the HIV-prevention benefits that this procedure offers.

In the news:

  • LoveLife goes smart for HIV tracking (TNA)
  • Birth control, HIV link (The Times)
  • Shuga's sweet success (City Press)
  • Lebese 'died of Aids' (Various)
  • She tries to keep kids virgins (Daily Sun)
  • Generic rivals depress Aspen (The Star)

9-15 March 2012—HIV News Update


  • One bad apple upsets the cart: By running a story which portrays living with HIV as “hell”, this week’s Move! magazine undermines the relatively recent ‘positive living’ trend that has emerged in many mags.
  • HIV myths still cause for concern: Despite its misleading headline (“Task team to probe HIV-Aids”) a small article in last Friday’s The New Age (TNA) highlights one of HIV-prevention’s often overlooked bugbears.
  • A tale of two articles: Two TB-related articles appearing in the Daily Sun over the past two weeks are worlds apart in terms of their readability.
  • Size matters when it comes to health reporting: The Star’s pared down version of an originally very comprehensive article by health-e on the findings of the Thibela TB study is an indicator of the media’s tendency to deprioritise issues germane to the health of South Africans.
  • Sowetan shines a light on TB stigma: An article in today’s (15 March 2012) Sowetan recounting the experience of a woman who was cured of extensively drug resistant TB (XDR-TB), is a sensitive and multifaceted portrayal which shines a spotlight on the stigma that people who have TB face while highlighting that TB is a serious but curable condition.

In the news:

  • Intersexions steals the show at the Saftas (Various)
  • HIV Update: ARVs and liver health(DRUM)
  • TB deaths drop (Sowetan)
  • 1519 negligent maternal deaths in 3 years (City Press)
  • Generics end drug monopoly in India (TNA)
  • Workshop tackles initiation issues ahead of season (TNA)
  • TB workshops are set in motion in Tshwane (TNA)
  • They help fight HIV in the kasi (Daily Sun)
  • Budget cuts risk Aids health gains (TNA)
  • Gogos show the way to good health (Daily Sun)
  • 'Big four' preventable lifestyle diseases in focus (TNA)
  • Support for virgin girls project
  • Doctor blames cops for delay in HIV case (Sowetan)

March-April 2012—HIV News Update


  • Salacious sex scandals can be vehicles for HIV info: According to last week’s (12 April 2012) DRUM magazine, Isidingo cast member Meshack Mavuso hasn’t had an easy time of it lately. The married man’s recent fling with a younger woman who subsequently accused him of having infected her with HIV made excellent tabloid fodder recently. 
  • Beyond prevention and treatment: A long running story on one young woman’s hard road to reclaiming her sexuality and identity while living with HIV, indicates that there is a pressing need to shift the exclusive focus on the ‘war on HIV’ to programmes which aim to improve the lives of people living with the virus.

In the news:

  • 'Humanised' mouse fights HIV (TNA)
  • Sisters probe scourge in prison (M&G)
  • Drugs offer hope to victims of XDR TB (The Star)
  • Medics suffer high exposure to TB (M&G)
  • TB is a miner's worst nightmare (City Press)


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.