HIV coverage: Tempering optimism with pragmatism

  • Kim Johnson & Melissa Meyer - 30 November 2012

A straight forward article in this week’s Move! magazine gives us a pragmatic angle on the HIV epidemic ahead of World AIDS Day.

Getting the jump on World AIDS Day coverage, Move! magazine has featured an article which covers the “then and now” of HIV in South Africa.

Encouragingly, the eye-catching article goes beyond just providing facts and stats. It serves as a reminder that in spite of HIV-related advances and improvements, prevention is still key.

If the past is any indication, World AIDS Day coverage will see a profusion of good news stories on HIV, most likely reflecting how far we have come; from political denial to access to free treatment for all, which has effectively made AIDS-related deaths a thing of the past. The vast progress made on the medical front is also likely to win some of the media-limelight.

While it is crucial to communicate how the epidemic has shifted gear, it is important that the media provide perspective by tempering optimism with a healthy dose of pragmatism.

This should include coverage of the realities of the epidemic – that whilst HIV is treatable, it requires a lifelong commitment to taking medication and looking after one’s health. And that despite new technologies (including treatment as prevention and post-exposure prophylaxis), the best method of prevention is still using a condom.

Move! has done just that, balancing an anticipated explosion of good news coverage with clear, informative writing--doing its bit to let the public know that HIV prevention is still a priority.

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“it is important that the media provide perspective by tempering optimism with a healthy dose of pragmatism”