XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Movements against AIDS: facilitating networking among HIV positive women journalists - lessons from Eastern and Southern Africa

L. Chigona1, A. Mishra1, P. Kimmumve1, E. Simaloy2, E. Basudde3

1Panos Global AIDS Programme, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2Journalists Living with HIV/AIDS, Nairobi, Kenya, 3Journalists Living with HIV/AIDS, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of

Issues: Gender inequalities are now well recognised as a driver in the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Gender inequities exist even in the media, both in terms of the impact on positive women journalists,and in terms of media coverage on impact of HIV on women from their own perspectives. This project aimed to: empower women living with HIV/AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa to communicate their concerns and perspectives, and to facilitate networking among women journalists living with HIV/AIDS.
Description: Panos Global AIDS Programme worked through its existing media networks In Eastern and Southern Africa to provide a safe space for positive journalists to network and share their concerns. Additionally, women living with HIV were trained in communicating and writing for the media.
Lessons learned: HIV/AIDS affects the media as journalists are either living with or directly affected by AIDS, and face stigma and discrimination. Addressing their personal anxieties will go a long way in fighting stigma and improving the quality of coverage on HIV/AIDS. There are no programmes which look at the impact of AIDS on journalists themselves.
The impact is worst for Positive women journalists. Training Positive women in media skills and facilitating interaction between Positive women and journalists helped in highlighting the issues of Positive women through the media.
The creation of a positive journalists network helped in fighting HIV related stigma within the media sector by encouraging Positive journalists to disclose their status, and write openly on issues that concern them.
Next steps:
  • Providing media skills to more Positive women to help discredit stereotypes associated with positive women and project positive women in an empowering light.
  • Encourage more Positive women journalists to join the networks.
  • Linking the two networks and disseminating stories on impact of positive women journalists widely.
  • Encouraging media houses to develop a HIV/AIDS workplace policy

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