HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

By Mark S. King

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998.  It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication.  The promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself.  “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star.  The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.”  The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful regularity.  The right to serve openly in the military.  Marriage.  Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public consciousness.  Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in particular, those stories feel stale.  It has all been said so many times before.  Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community.  When new data was reported recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of rising infection rates and a bored readership?  Are they simply reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions:  The 2013 LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.  About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.  Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and international rights.

Mark and Bil.jpgThe absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at #LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various people in attendance.  Their very personal answers – and undeniable passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day.  I will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times?  Is it progress?  And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner, who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping people see the importance of the issue.  I’m glad I have some company in the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices.  Anyone who has the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table, can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

Mark S. King is an activist, author and blogger. This blog post was originally published on his blog My Fabulous Disease.

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.VM8SJ8h8.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close. – See
more at:

http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

3 Responses

  1. I think it is a wildly inaccurate leap to say that because this year’s LGBT media forum didn’t have a panel about HIV and AIDS that the LGBT press isn’t reporting on this.

    I just put in the search terms “HIV, 2012″ on the Bay Area Reporter’s searchable archive and came up with 1,200 links to stories we ran

    I read many of the top LGBT papers on a weekly basis and constantly see coverage about this topic.

    Just as I see many LGBT bloggers and websites reporting on and linking to HIV / AIDS stories.

    And as a forum organizer of the annual LGBT Media Summit at the NLGJA convention, I can assure you that HIV and AIDS issues are regularly on the program.

    • I hear your umbrage, Matthew. The article reflects the waning interest of our community as a whole, and yes, indicates less coverage in recent years, which is undeniable. The absence of HIV from the recent convening didn’t particularly bother me, since HIV crept into each presentation regardless. I get that HIV can’t always be front and center.

      What was most interesting about the video interviews was a conversation about how to make coverage compelling to a new audience. Not more reporting. Smarter coverage that speaks to the actual experience of sexually active gay men. That is a conversation worth having, I believe, and we’re all still teachable, right?

  2. Since posting this on my blog, many LGBT journalists have stood up to their excellent HIV/AIDS reporting, and the media alone shouldn’t be held responsible for waning interest in the topic, obviously. But pro-active journalists have also begun brainstorming on how best to make HIV contemporary to new, younger audiences.

    I believe strongly in putting the personal spin on it whenever possible, such as the excellent series in Frontiers recently, “My Life on PrEP,” which was a candid, sometimes explicit account of an HIV negative man negotiating his way through the gay sexual landscape while on PrEP.

    I’m grateful that journalists of all kinds are reassessing their coverage in the face of rising infection rates.

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