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Gay men no longer the stereotyped, it’s straight women says expert

by Archives January 22, 2008

A specialized research group is claiming that the media’s portrayal of HIV/AIDS has changed from primarily associating the disease with male homosexuals to heterosexual women, and that the topic has come up more frequently, rather than less, in the past few years.
“All years taken in account, the words ‘AIDS’, ‘HIV’ and ‘seropositive’ were more often coupled with the word ‘women’ than with ‘men’,” said Maria Nengeh Mensah in a lecture last Thursday on HIV-related discourse in Quebec’s media, part of a series of lectures on AIDS/HIV given at Concordia University.
Nengeh Mensah claimed that people living with HIV were “feminized” in the press’ discourse.
This is in sharp contrast with the image created by the press 20 years ago when AIDS was a new phenomenon. HIV-positive people were then classified in four highly stereotypical groups: men having sex with men, injected drug users, sex workers, and those coming from a country where HIV was prevalent.
Aiming at studying the media discourse on HIV in order to reduce the climate of stigmatisation related to it, the Projet viHsibilité was launched by the Institute of Women Studies at the Université du Québec

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