Crisis in health care considered in context of HIV

  • Kim Johnson - 2 November 2012

Articles highlighting the crisis in the public health care sector that incorporate how HIV-related services are being affected, show that journalists are beginning to consider HIV as a contextual factor.

Barely a week goes by without an article that draws attention to the problems plaguing South Africa’s public health system appearing in our newspapers. Monday’s (29 October 2012) edition of the Sowetan was no different.

The article titled ‘Hospital staff “burnt-out”’ detailed how an Mpumalanga hospital is severely understaffed.  While the bulk of the article dealt with this issue, the piece does touch on how this affects HIV-related services (in this case HIV counselling and testing).

These days it is not unusual for articles investigating the crisis in public healthcare to consider what this means in a country where vast numbers of people require HIV-related services like testing and treatment.

The integration of HIV into articles where HIV is a related rather than a central issue indicates that journalists are starting to ‘think HIV’, considering it as something that underpins and affects a host of other issues.

‘Slipping’ HIV into articles might also be a more subtle and plausible way of communicating HIV-related information to a public which is suffering from HIV information overload or HIV fatigue.

This new approach to writing about HIV is appropriate given that the epidemic is now more chronic than crisis.

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“‘Slipping’ HIV into articles might also be a more subtle and plausible way of communicating HIV-related information”