This evening I was reading a copy of today’s Irish Independent as I ate my evening meal. I was somewhat taken aback to read on page nineteen:

Aids virus hope

A teenage girl born with the Aids virus…

This is very bad reporting of an issue about someone living with HIV. I begin to wonder what century the Irish Independent is living in. To quote the NAT Guidelines for reporting HIV,

“HIV and AIDS are different, and it’s important to make this clear. As it is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms, AIDS cannot itself be transmitted, nor can there be an AIDS virus, nor an AIDS carrier. Someone either does or does not have AIDS. There are no degrees of AIDS, so the expression ‘full blown AIDS’ is meaningless.”

Guidelines for reporting HIV, June 2010.

Let me emphasize:

…AIDS cannot itself be transmitted, nor can there be an AIDS virus,…

It really is not that complicated.

I am writing to the Editor of the Irish Independent seeking an assurance that the newspaper will amend how it reports issues surrounding HIV in the future. Perhaps someone in Ireland needs to do an Irish version of the Australian website, HIV Media Guide. Anyone willing to help?