Daily Sun misrepresents HIV as “the deadly disease”

  • Kim Johnson - 9 November 2012

The Daily Sun’s sensationalist language undermines a positive message.

An article in Tuesday’s Daily Sun praised a celeb singer Nandi Mngoma’s quest to shine a “positive light on HIV/Aids”.

But ironically, despite trying to promote a message of education and upliftment, the article shoots itself in the foot by repeatedly referring to HIV “as the deadly disease”.

As a result of its sensationalist nature the tabloid often employs dramatic language to get its stories across. The upshot of this is that it can convey the seriousness of HIV.

But unfortunately in this case the use of sensationalist language has baited the Daily Sun into using an inaccurate turn of phrase.

With the advent of free HIV treatment and ever-improving treatment guidelines HIV no longer has to be a “deadly disease”. People living with the virus who take antiretroviral treatment (ART) are now able to live long and healthy lives.

It is only in cases where HIV infection goes untreated that it will lead to death from Aids-related illnesses.

Considering this, referring to HIV as “the deadly disease” is a misrepresentation that could do damage by inciting unnecessary fear and a sense of doom towards people living with the virus.

Referring to HIV as a potentially deadly disease would be a more carefully worded choice that strikes the balance between conveying the seriousness of HIV and accurately representing HIV as a manageable condition.

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