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Guidelines help journalists understand HIV in the 21st century

Friday, August 13, 2010

NAT (National AIDS Trust) have produced new Guidelines for Reporting HIV. The guidelines have been produced for editors and journalists writing about HIV in the UK. They dispel commons myths about HIV, provide up-to-date information and sign-post journalists to further resources. The guidelines are supported by the National Union of Journalists, the Press Complaints Commission and the Society of Editors.

Testing and treatment for HIV has improved greatly over recent years. The guidelines advise journalists how to report about HIV in the 21st century. For example, it is no longer correct to suggest that HIV is a death sentence, that HIV automatically leads to AIDS or that you must wait three or six months for a test. 
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, says;
“The public get a lot of their knowledge about HIV from the press, so it is important journalists get it right.  Accurate reporting benefits public health, dispels myths, undermines prejudice and increases understanding.  We hope these guidelines will help journalists update their knowledge about HIV in the 21st century.”
NAT monitors the press for inaccurate coverage about HIV. Some of the most common mistakes journalists make include suggesting there is a risk of HIV infection from discarded needles or biting, confusing AIDS and HIV and suggesting HIV is deadly.
Graham Dudman, Managing Editor at The Sun, ensures his staff use the guidelines. He says;
“At The Sun we pride ourselves on getting the facts right and staying up to date. This can be a challenge in sensitive areas like HIV. NAT's guidelines for journalists are very useful, really simple to work with and lay out all the facts reporters need.”

Notes to the editor:

The guidelines are available for download at:"/publications/Media-reporting.aspx

For further information please contact:
020 7814 6733
NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.