The media needs to do more to tackle the stigma of HIV/Aids in the UK’s African communities, charities say.
The UK media’s coverage of HIV/Aids tends to focus on its impact in Africa with too few articles covering migration issues and the affect the disease has on vulnerable migrants in the UK, finds research by the African HIV Policy Network (AHPN) and Panos London
The report, Start the Press, says the media can help change this situation by presenting facts about the disease, featuring stories of the UK’s African community living with it and highlighting support services.
An estimated 8,000 UK-based Africans live with the disease, but charities believe thousands more are unaware they are infected with it because two-thirds of the African community haven’t been tested.
The AHPN is also calling on African communities, politicians and those living with the disease to encourage people to be tested.
Neil Gerrard MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Aids, said: “It is crucial that we tackle HIV stigma, which impacts on the lives of people living with HIV and prevents people from coming forward to be tested. The media can play a vital role in presenting accurate information about HIV and challenging discrimination against those living with it.”
As part of the awarness campaign, The Thomson Foundation, an international media development non-governmental organsiation, is delivering training to HIV advocates on working with black and ethnic minority media outlets.