HIV/AIDS: 20 years of press coverage

May 15, 2003

Background to the Abstract

More than 40 million people live with HIV/AIDS. Developing countries are worst affected with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for more than 22 million infections. The pandemic is still in its infancy and Asia, with more than 60 percent of the world’s population, is destined to become the new epicentre. The disease was first identified as HIV in July 1983 and this paper examines particular areas of academic debate in regard to HIV/AIDS during the past 20 years. These include the overall pattern of reporting and how the disease was constructed and then represented through metaphors. Newsroom practices on reporting the disease are examined together with possible ways to improve coverage. ‘HIV/AIDS’ is used to include the two different stages of infection and the term ‘Western press’ covers Britain, France, US and Australia.

About the Author

Dr Trevor Cullen (PhD) is Professor of Journalism at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. Trevor is recognised as a national and international leader in the field of HIV/health Journalism and Journalism education. He has received several University and national teaching and research awards. These include two Australian Government awards – A National Teaching and Learning Fellowship (NTF) and the Australian Award for University Teaching. (AAUT).

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