Daily News Blog: International AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna - Monday
The nature of the media coverage of the 2010 International Aids conference in Vienna varied greatly across the globe today, with not enough mention given to the relationship between drug use and HIV in media outlets in many countries.
Although several agencies ran with the story of a breakthrough made by a team of Canadian scientists in the field of antiretroviral therapy, many British and American newspapers made no mention of the conference at all in either their print or online editions, and very few Western media outlets explicitly mentioned injecting drug users (IDU's) as a vulnerable group.
The Indian edition of Reuters was updated today to include a 'factbox' on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that pointed out that people who inject drugs are often the least likely to receive AIDS treatment drugs, and the African edition disclosed that this was often due to harsh political and social attitudes. Meanwhile, the US edition was left with a far tamer 'factbox' written yesterday, as well as other articles that made no mention of injecting drug use whatsoever.
Only Canada's Winnipeg Free Press was on board with the message of the conference, carrying an article titled 'War on drugs' fuels HIV epidemic as governments ignore science, experts say. The story was much the same across Britain, Australia, and America, with articles appearing on the conference but not on injecting drug use in the Guardian, the BBC news website, ABC News in Australia and the Wall Street Journal online pages. Several articles did appear in Western media following speeches by Bill Clinton and Bill Gates at the conference, who both stressed the need to fight Aids more efficiently.
Meanwhile, the story about the HIV rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia popped up in the Bangkok Post and the Pakistani News Agency DAWN.com, while the need for greater resources to be put into needle exchange programmes was stressed on Russia Today.
It seems as though only news agencies outside the West have come to terms with the fact that outside sub-Saharan Africa, injecting drug use is the most prevalent cause of HIV.