HIV/AIDS: a booming industry? – Public Eye

Date: April 14, 2011
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This is a health feature, which is an in-depth piece on HIV/AIDS funding. It reflects on interventions, funding and programmes. The article focuses on the HIV/AIDS “industryÀ and picks up on sentiment emerging from a workshop which critically reviews how funds are spent and states the effectiveness on the ground does not match the money.


HIV and AIDS intervention programmes are placed under the microscope in this article. The article is an outcome of an international conference, held in Johannesburg, which challenged the handling and management of HIV and AIDS programmes in Southern Africa.

Donor funding is placed under the spotlight as well as Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on what is considered a booming, “sexyÀ industry. Public health systems are critiqued and it is argued that sub-Saharan governments are let off the hook from addressing this pandemic.

The issue of NGO’s, the entertainment industry and governments turning HIV/AIDS into a fashion is discussed. This article broadens the discourse to include the ethics and funding of HIV/AIDS programs. The views expressed, however, are one-sided and do not include donor or other NGO responses. The voices of people who are living with HIV/AIDS are absent. While the article looks at the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa a sub-theme covering Lesotho would have allowed one to measure the analysis more fairly.


The heading is appropriate and is punctuated with a question mark inviting readers to consider donning a different lens when viewing the issue. It also suggests that the issues raised are not conclusive. The headline is conversational and interactive. It takes cognisance that readers are not passive recipients of information.


Both primary and secondary sources are used. The information offers insight in what one may call a fresh exploration of one of the many facets of the topic. Sources used tend to support the author’s view. The voices of women and the gender dimension is absent.


The language used is accessible to a more literate audience, but it may be appropriate to this newspaper’s target audience. Academics would also be comfortable with the language. The article is well-written, flows easily and is persuasive and thought-provoking. The language triggers reflection and the author poses questions, which suggests a conversation with the audience. It is written in a manner which keeps the reader’s attention and extremely informative as well.

Visual Images

There are no pictures accompanying this article. However, there is sufficient page furniture which pulls the reader’s eye. The article is tagged clearly as a health feature with an HIV/AIDS its focus. The symbolic red ribbon is presented as an A at the begging of a sub-heading which reads: Aids lifeline.

The headline posed as a question aims to catch the eye. All in all the presentation of the feature, in the absence of any pictures, does not defer from its power of attracting the reader’s eye.

Story angle and perspective

The angle reviews the role of funders and donors in tackling HIV/AIDS intervention programmes. The angle pursued is one which says that HIV/AIDS is an industry in which stakeholders mimic business approaches. It also is critical on this “industryÀ which has not measured its own effectiveness.

The focus of the article and perspective gets audiences to also sit up and take stock. It calls on people to engage as active recipients, at least, this is the underlying message. The perspective broached lends itself to a particular point of view, which is grounded in data as well.

The story offers fresh insight and it could have developed a local angle to bench-mark its critique of donor funding and government intervention in Lesotho. This was a missed opportunity. Gender issues were also ignored.

The writer’s point of view dominates the debate. While the story mentions several scholars and statistical reports À“ it does not offer competing views to the theme. It would have been interesting to hear the side of the story of other stakeholders.

Placement or positioning

The article is placed on page seven in the health section of the newspaper. It receives large space and is the only article on the page. There is sufficient graphics to indicate the article is about health and that it addresses HIV/AIDS. The space afforded to this article suggests that it carried editorial weight.

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