270470 Coverage of HIV in the Indian News Media: What can the social discourse reveal about national readiness for youth prevention and education?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Rajiv N. Rimal, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Maria Elena Figueroa, PhD , Center for Communication Program, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Dr. Nilesh Chatterjee, PhD, MA, MBBS , Head, Research & Evaluation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs (JHU∙CCP), India, New Delhi, India
Sanjanthi Velu, Chief of Party, JHU CCP India , Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Mumbai, India
Swati Pongurlekar , State Communication Manager, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, India, Mumbai, India
Alisa Padon , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Introduction India ranks third globally with 2.4 million persons infected with HIV. Although HIV prevalence is relatively low (0.3%), risk of spread remains high. Despite a comprehensive national program, school-based HIV-education has faced controversy. We analyse news media as a measure of social discourse around HIV, and consider societal readiness for prevention programs targeting youth. News media frame public understanding of core components of a social issue and shape notions of workable intervention initiatives and policy solutions.

Methods Using electronic archives, we gathered 18 months (January 2010–June 2011) of HIV coverage from three Indian dailies: Times of India , The Hindu (English) and Lokmat (Marathi). Stories were coded for both manifest (event reported, event place, sources quoted, transmission and prevention information provided) and latent (story frame) content .

Results HIV is newsworthy in India, with 526 stories in three newspapers over 18 months. Most events reported were domestic (75%), with policy initiatives, research and collective advocacy each accounting for 20% of coverage. Despite little editorial engagement with HIV, data suggest that news may educate and promote prevention; 25% of stories mentioned transmission mechanisms and nearly half (47%) discussed prevention. Coverage conveyed optimism about HIV (67%), rather than pessimism (18%).

Conclusion Media influence public and policy debates by agenda setting and framing. Media discourse about HIV/AIDS in India is frequent, informative, and literal, but not youth focused in a demographically young country. The presentation will draw parallels with coverage of other issues also characterized by low prevalence but high severity.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Communication and informatics
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Participant will learn about the HIV epidemic in India and some initiatives for youth education and prevention such as Adolescent Evaluation project (AEP) 2. Participant will learn (from example) how to conduct a content analysis to understand how media frames and shapes issues such as HIV 3. Participant will learn how to discern and differentiate literal coverage of an event (manifest content) versus latent content (framing of the story).

Keywords: Adolescents, International, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the media analysis research presented. I have extensive experience in conducting media analyses of health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.