Friday, December 4, 2009

Are We Bored with AIDS?

I hate to be a scold, especially when I'm as curious as the next guy about Tiger Woods' alleged girlfriend. Still, when we're done with all the gawking, can we take a moment for something more important?

Via NPR, by Harold Pollack

Almost six thousand people died of AIDS Monday. An even greater number became HIV-infected, though most of these men and women won't know this for months or even years. As far as we know, Monday wasn't any better or worse than any other day in this regard. That it happened to be World AIDS Day was almost incidental.

AIDS was certainly incidental to much of the mainstream media. Scanning the nation's three leading national newspapers, HIV and AIDS were virtually absent from the front pages. The health sections included some good stuff, including one story about South Africa's decision to treat all children living with HIV; that was pretty much it in the area of AIDS. There was apparently no room for further AIDS stories, though there was ample space for stories about how loneliness may spread from person to person, how venting at the office is good for your heart, and more. I saw some good reporting on health reform. Not one of these stories examined how the 2009 reforms might address HIV/AIDS. I'm not sure I have seen any such story this entire year. The rest of the paper included other stories. Some concerned Afghanistan. Many involved a golf club wielded by Mrs. Tiger Woods.

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