A new guide to help journalists report on HIV fairly and accurately has been launched today.
The National AIDS Trust and the National Union of Journalists have jointly produced Guidelines for reporting HIV in response to concerns about how those living with the virus are portrayed in the media.
The guide includes up-to-date information on HIV and details of useful sources of further information.
More than 30,000 copies are being distributed to NUJ members and members of the Society of Editors, which has endorsed the guidelines. It will also be available to download at www.nat.org.uk or www.nuj.org.uk.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: “The media’s power to communicate news and information means that it is an incredibly useful tool in the fight against HIV, yet just one inaccurate or stigmatising article can have significant repercussions in terms of spreading false information about HIV and increasing prejudice against people living with the virus.
“Many people living with HIV are very concerned at the number of articles in the media that sensationalise and stigmatise HIV.
“At a time when the UK has the fastest-growing rates of HIV infection in Western Europe, it is crucial that all articles about HIV give accurate information and help to break down the stigma that still surrounds the condition.”
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear added: “This guide will be a really useful tool to help journalists use the appropriate language to write about HIV and find out the true facts about the virus.”
The guide give the facts on HIV testing and treatment, as well as looking at the social context of living with HIV, addressing issues such as HIV and employment and HIV and the law.
It also includes tips on using the correct terminology in relation to HIV and AIDS.
Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “HIV is not always top of the agenda in the UK, so it is vitally important that journalists report clearly and accurately to help challenge inaccurate perceptions and promote better understanding and responses.”