1. Stevens, Robin Stanback. “AIDS in Black & White: The Influence of News Coverage of HIV/AIDS on HIV/AIDS Testing among African Americans and White Americans, 1993–2007.” Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2009. https://search.proquest.com/docview/304980419/abstract/D08A65E714A4438FPQ/3.
While AIDS/HIV news media has been crucial in educating the public about the disease, there has been minimal coverage among the African American community. I chose this article because it expresses the disadvantage many minorities faced in regards to education about AIDS prevention. Media and poculture regarding AIDS awarness centered soley around white homosexual men and did not represent straight men and women of color. In chapter 1 of “AIDS in Black & White”, Stevens discusses the difference in health status based on racial group and utilizes countless statistics and graphs from the CDC to demonstrate that African Americans were the second highest group affected by AIDS.
This study examines how news media relates to attitudes and behaviors of AIDS/HIV in a population and examines racial disparities. Data taken from the Center of Disease Control and Preventions’ National Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System during 1993 to 2007 examines the different effects that news coverage during that time period has on African Americans and Whites. This data states that in 2006 Blacks accounted for 49% of new AIDS cases in 2005, while only accounting for 12% of the total population. Stevens then goes on to discuss the several theories that could explain why there was a lack of coverage of AIDS in the African American community.
His main point suggests that if the coverage started to focus on Blacks, it would lessen the rick perception to all Americans and overall public financial support would diminish. Stevens concludes chapter 1 by expressing that his goal is to provide a “case study of how news coverage can deferentially influence and impact sub groups within a population, to help improve the health of all, or further exacerbate health disparities”.
Percentage of HIV/AIDS risk coverage by “at-risk” group, 1993–2006 (n = 2,166).
Model predicting relationship between monthly HIV newspaper coverage and HIV testing by race (n = 1,074)
2. McAllister, Matthew P. “Comic Books and AIDS.” Journal of Popular Culture 26, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 1–24.
McAllister states that understanding the educational messages within popular culture is vital for intervening in the AIDS crisis. He ties together popular culture and health promotions to exemplify the importance of awareness the AIDS epidemic and states that children may learn as much from MTV and they do from PBS. McAllister includes a quote from an AIDS scholar, Simon Watney, which states “Fighting AIDS is not just a medical struggle, it involves our understanding of the words and images which load the virus down with such a dismal cargo of appalling connotations”.
He also points out the role that comic books have as AIDS educators because of their potential to for dealing with social issues and comics books as a medium deals with AIDS in three ways: (1) the creation of a new comic book specifically designed to educate about AIDS; (2) integration of fictional people living with AIDS to establish story lines and characters; (3) the donation of profits made from the sale of AIDS related comic art to the AIDS cause. By including multiple examples of comics in his journal that share a purpose of educating the general public about AIDS and HIV, he reiterates his idea that comics and artwork are universal and powerful. This journal related back to the AIDS Memorial Quilt, more specifically Any Lippincott’s quilt and the overall purpose of creating a memorial quilt for a fictional comic character. The people who created Lippincott’s quilt did not suffer from AIDS personally yet they were touched by his presence within the comic strip and wanted to memorialize him.
Source: US National Library of Medicine
AIDS News. Leonard Rifas and the People of Color Against AIDS Network, Seattle, WA. 1988
Source: Comic Strip of the Day
Andy Lippincott from Doonesbury
3. Carson, Evelyn D. “The Importance of Relational Communication for Effecting Social Change in HIV/AIDS Prevention Messages: A Content Analysis of HIV/AIDS Public Service Announcements.” Ph.D., Ohio University, 2010. https://search.proquest.com/docview/746444707/abstract/431310BA4DD348A7PQ/1.
I chose this journal because public service announcements play an important role in educating the public in multiple different modes. A PSA could take from in a commercial on television, and ad in a magazine or even as a comic strip character in a newspaper. In chapter 1: HIV/AIDS Public Service Announcements, Carson states that public service announcements have been around since 1987 to educate the public about HIV and AIDS by explaining how this virus and disease are contracted and certain strategies to prevent the infection of HIV. In 2005, nongovernmental organizations also produced PSAs to help educate the public. After analyzing a series of studies, Carson concludes that while females are slightly represented as dominant figures in HIV and AIDS PSAs, they fall short of representation compared to men.
He incorporated a wide range of data from the Center of Disease Control, such as in 1999 the fifth leading cause of death fro U.S. women age 25-44 was AIDS, to support his argument that women, especially in minorities, suffer more from this epidemic because they are not as educated about the disease. PSAs for AIDS rarely target women and according to Raheim (1996) multiple prevention campaigns address women as “vessels for having children”. This leaves the question: what aspects of a PSA connect with women and minorities to inform and educate them?
Early PSA’s only focused mainly on young white men.
AIDS PSA from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in the 1980’s
4. Krier, Beth Ann. “Healing Laughter: [Home Edition].” Los Angeles Times (Pre-1997 Fulltext); Los Angeles, Calif. November 4, 1991, sec. View; PART-E; View Desk.
In this article, Krier solidifies her argument that there is a fine line where gentle and supportive positive humor turns to offensive and disrespectful mocking of the homosexual community. Krier utilizes multiple examples of humor gone too far such as an excerpt from a journal by Alan Dundes, a UC Berkeley anthropology and folklore professor where he states: Q: Do you know what “gay” means? A: “Got AIDS yet?”. Krier jokes that some of the tasteless humor and satires might have been inspired by one of John Waters’ earlier films. Krier then lists multiple harsh and degrading examples of AIDS jokes in the media but also mentions the Doonesbury comic-strip where the cartoonist, Gary Trudeau, is applauded for his sensitivity regarding his character Andy Lippincott who died of AIDS after battling it for ten months.
Krier believes that some observers attribute the increase in non-homophobic AIDS humor to the fact that a growing number of people believe laughter is healing. Krier questions whether is it possible to laugh in the face of death and disease without offending people. While Trudeau received praise for his comic strips he also receives a lot of backlash. I believe this journal focuses too much on choosing a side and doesn’t focus on the significance that the joke progression have on informing the public about the dangers of AIDS.
Stephanie Paterik discusses the evolution of AIDS humor in her article:
5. Hull, Anne V. “Powerful Images // Trudeau Takes up a Sensitive Issue: [CITY Edition].” Petersburg Times; St. Petersburg, Fla. March 31, 1989, sec. FLORIDIAN.
Hull describes how Gary Trudeau, the cartoonist for the comic strip Doonesbury, satirizing a government official by creating a character, Lacey Davenport, who is oblivious to the horror of AIDS. This begins to start more controversy regarding Trudeau’s comic strop ultimately leading to the Boston Globe refusing to run the strip for the next week as the assistant managing editor Alexander Hawes describes the majority of next week’s strip to be offensive and “insensitive to the whole issue” of AIDS.
When Trudeau got did not return a phone call he received from St. Petersburg Times, he states, “If I have anything of interest to say, I say it in the strip”. Hull includes multiple news paper editor statements of the strip within her journal to express the variety of opinion around such a controversial subject. Urvashi Vaid, information director fro the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, says “good comedy exposes things, it reveals contradictions and makes people recognize things. Bad comedy makes you laugh at something”. Hull also includes an observation by Dennis Stephens, executive director of AIDS Coalition Pinellas, where he made one objection to the comic strip: Every AIDS character or reference is about males, there are no intravenous drug users or females represented. This statement connects with other research articles that explain how women and minorities are left in the dark when it come to being informed about the AIDS epidemic.
Hull states that some people believe that AIDS has no place on a comic page but contradicts this idea by explaining that the presence of AIDS in a comic page sends a message: The epidemic has become a mainstream concern. Hull makes a valid argument within her journal; controversy is beneficial if it sheds light on a topic that remains in the dark to many individuals.
The official website for National LGBTQ Task Force:
6. McNicol, Sarah. “Humanising Illness: Presenting Health Information in Educational Comics.” Medical Humanities 40, no. 1 (June 1, 2014): 49–55. https://doi.org/10.1136/medhum-2013-010469.
Comic books serve as effective health education tools but have the potential to do so much more than just convey factual information to a patient. Comics provide support for patients while they deal with the social and psychological aspect of their condition. These educational comics can be found about a wide range of illnesses such as AIDS and sexual health to tuberculosis to diabetes type 1 and 2. Not only do they raise awareness, prepare patients, and assist with decision making, but they also increase acceptance and understanding of the condition.
McNicol describes these comics as a “very non-threatening medium” to display information and “universalize the illness experience” yet one major down side to the effectiveness of these health comics is that it all depends on if the readers want to take the information provided through this medium seriously. Most of these comics are made for low literacy patients, a younger demographic, and non-native speakers which is extremely important for bringing awareness to minority groups.
Ultimately McNicol concludes that health related comics have a multitude of advantages over patient information leaflets because the offer a “companionship” when patients are affected by the negative feelings toward their condition. These comics help patients and their families “come to terms” with their condition.
Link to a diabetes health education comic:
Photo of an AIDS/HIV health education comic:
7. Stuart, Jean. “Media Matters: Producing a Culture of Compassion in the Age of AIDS: .” English Quarterly; Toronto 36, no. 2 (2004): 3–5.
Stuart expresses how it has become increasingly necessary to recognize and embrace multi-modal texts that the youth is exposed to and to encourage multi-literacy competencies needed to deal with them. As a response to AIDS/HIV in South Africa, a multitude of media texts are being created to assist in promoting education, awareness, and prevention.
Soul City is a project created in Africa to assist in social justice and education through TV and radio series, health information booklets, and comics for adults and children. This is still not enough to completely inform the public and Stuart includes a quote from The Media in Education Trust Annual Report stating, “the reality is that teachers need space and support to come to grips with HIV/AIDS themselves, before they can promote learning about it in their classrooms”. Thirteen pre-service teachers, participating in ‘From our Fame’ project, enrolled in a course on guidance which expressed the importance of breaking down social and cultural division in order to reach a universal audience when teaching. By using a medium such as photography an opportunity opened up to explore and express personal ideas about AIDS/HIV. The workshops the teachers participated in continues to express the importance of multi-modality and by utilizing story telling and educational comics, the teachers from ‘From our Frames’ project presented a message that aims on shaping a culture of compassion for those affected by AIDS/HIV.
Link to Soul City (a project of the Institute of Urban Primary Health Care):
Soul City – AIDS Storyline Clip:
8. “Comic Book Superheroes Battling AIDS : NPR.” Accessed November 2, 2017. http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=91554113.
Host of National Public Radio, Farai Chideya, and creator and illustrator of “O+ Men”, Mr. Robert Walker, discuss what it really means to be a superhero. Chideya states that superheros can come in all forms, shapes, and sizes, but now some are battling with a life threatening virus, AIDS. Not only has Robert has created a new super character but he also created an imaginative attempt to raise AIDS/HIV awareness and education through comic books.
O+ Men is a story of a group of people with HIV who take an experimental AIDS antidote which unexpectedly gives them superpowers. Walker states that this idea came about because he believed there should be more of a push of AIDS awareness in a community where there is a growing influx of people being affected at alarming rates. He also expressed how he is very direct with his descriptions and images in his comic and tries not to sugar coat anything because in order to prevent a disease, you need to understand how to deal with it. Walker hopes that his comics could be distributed in Barnes and Noble or even get them into educational programs in schools as a sexual behavior study. In order to utilize his comic as a resource for readers, Walker has contributors such as Dr. Howard Grossens, M.D. HIV specialist that corresponds with him to to give knowledge that he can then portray into his comics.
Goth is a character from Walker’s comic O+ Men:
9. “Women | Gender | HIV by Group | HIV/AIDS | CDC.” Accessed November 2, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html.
Reports from the Center of Disease Control state that while HIV diagnoses among women have declined drastically in recent years, over 7,000 women received an HIV diagnosis in 2015. Compared to other races and ethnicities, African American women are disproportionately affected by HIV. 60% of women living with diagnosed HIV at the end of 2014 were African American, followed by 17% Hispanic and 17% white. Shockingly out of women living with HIV, 11% do not know that they are infected.
The CDC addresses the prevention challenges stating that minority communities, such as Hispanic/Latino and African Americans face a greater risk of HIV infection with each new sexual encounter. Also women who have been sexually abused “may be more likely than women who have not to engage in sexual risk behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple sex partners, or having sex without a condom”.
The CDC is working with state and local partners throughout the United States to identify and implement cost effective interventions in populations that are most affected by HIV. Examples would be the funding to health departments and community-based organizations such as awarding $330 million each year to certain health departments to prioritize HIV prevention strategies. The CDC has also promoted the Act Against AIDS campaign, and has also funded research on microbicides, a cream or gel that could be applied vaginally or anally before sexual contact to prevent HIV transmission.
Source: CDC, HIV Diagnoses in the United States for the Most-Affected Sub-populations, 2015
10. Feb 27, and 2004. “AIDS at 21: Media Coverage of the HIV Epidemic.” The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (blog), February 27, 2004. https://www.kff.org/other/poll-finding/aids-at-21-media-coverage-of-the-3/.
A 22 year analysis shows that overall the media coverage of AIDS/HIV has decrease, but the focus has shifted from the AIDS in the United States to AIDS as an increasing global epidemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation analysis also reveals that specific populations are disproportionately affected by AIDS/HIV in the U.S. “In the United States, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has moved from being an absolute death sentence to more of a chronic disease and one with an increasing presence in minority communities,” said Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Public Opinion and Media Research at the Foundation.
Media coverage increase during 1980’s, peaking in 1987 and then slowly declined through the 2000’s. This decline in media coverage in the U.S. increased attention to world populations, specifically African and Asian nations. Overtime, HIV transmission in the media focused more on government funding/financing for HIV/AIDS. This study also finds a decreasing number of stories in the media with a consumer education component. National surveys of the public have indicated a lack of knowledge about HIV transmission among minorities in the United States. Based off of this information, the KFF raises the question: “to what extent do the media have a responsibility to educate the public, as opposed to focusing only on reporting the news?”
Source CDC: link to AIDS and HIV Timeline throughout History
Source HIV.gov: link to an article, Impact on Racial and Ethnic Minorities