Biomedicalization, Stigma, and “Re-Gaying” HIV/AIDS in the Israeli Media

Michal Soffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

HIV and AIDS are not merely biomedical conditions—they are socially constructed phenomena. Media coverage plays a prominent role in the public’s understanding of HIV/AIDS. “Biomediatization” denotes the coproduction of HIV/AIDS by biomedicine and mass media. Nevertheless, despite the importance of the media in the social construction of HIV/AIDS, research on HIV/AIDS coverage in the Israeli media is negligible. This study examined the social construction of HIV/AIDS in Israel. The sample includes all items (88 texts and videos) published in three of the top news websites in a 1-year period that mentioned HIV or AIDS. Thematic analysis was employed. Three themes were identified. “The biomedicalization of HIV/AIDS” depicted HIV/AIDS as a one-faceted, biological phenomenon that concerns the body of the individual and is a public health issue. The second theme, “HIV/AIDS and stigma,” consisted of subthemes: “acknowledging stigma” and “constructing stigma.” In the former, the stigma ascribed to HIV/AIDS was acknowledged and discussed. The latter revealed various mechanisms employed by the media to construct and perpetuate HIV/AIDS stigma. The third theme we identified, “re-gaying HIV/AIDS,” concerned the various venues through which HIV/AIDS is associated with gay men. The findings show that HIV/AIDS was depicted as a biomedical condition that concerns the individual. The implications of our study include a need to change the rhetoric of HIV/AIDS in the Israeli media such that it will address the complex issues of power and inequality that HIV/AIDS entails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2813-2823
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Volume50
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biomediatization
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Israel
  • Mass media
  • Social construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)

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