Press Release: ‘Rights group spearheads effort to combat stigma and discrimination in media reporting on HIV.’

1st March 2021. For immediate release.

New guidelines aimed at editors and journalists reporting on HIV will be launched today [Monday 1 March] to mark international Zero Discrimination Day. Compiled and published by HIV Ireland, Media Reporting Guidelines – HIV will serve as a best practice guide and point of reference for anyone writing, blogging, reporting, or broadcasting on the topic of HIV and AIDS in Ireland.

The Guidelines include best practice tips for reporting on HIV together with up-to-date information on use of language, terminology, and key facts about HIV.  The resource is intended to inform greater sensitivity and accuracy in reporting of HIV and AIDS in the media.

Speaking in advance of the launch, Executive Director of HIV Ireland, Mr Stephen O’Hare said:

“Everyone living with HIV knows that the history of media reporting on HIV and AIDS is littered with examples of factual inaccuracy, misinformation and homophobia. Use of inappropriate language, finger pointing and sensationalism, particularly around transmission or acquisition of HIV, deeply damages efforts to combat stigma and improve outcomes for people living with HIV,” he added.

“Abrasive, negative or alarmist reporting also hampers efforts to promote effective prevention methods including testing for HIV, PrEP and other prophylactic options (e.g. condoms) among those at increased vulnerability of acquiring HIV,” continued Mr O’Hare.

The new resource will be launched at an online event on Monday 1st March at 11am. A panel of speakers, including journalist Orla Ryan (the, and HIV blogger Michael McFarland Campbell, will discuss the role of the media in eliminating HIV-related stigma in reporting through accurate and intelligent coverage of HIV and HIV-related issues.

“As we work to end new HIV transmissions and eliminate HIV-related stigma,” said Mr O’Hare, “the role and responsibility of news, current affairs, and social media platforms in fostering greater empathy and awareness of HIV, through accurate and informed reporting should not be underestimated. To facilitate improved reporting, we will be sending a copy of the guidelines to editors, journalists, media organisations and press oversight agencies throughout Ireland,” he added.

“2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the emergence of HIV and we can safely assume that much will be written on the topic. Adherence to these guidelines will help to ensure sensitive and informative reporting throughout,” concluded Mr O’Hare.


For media queries contact Stephen O’Hare, Executive Director on 0857112635 email


Notes for Editors

We invite any members of the media to attend the online event on Monday 1 March 2021 at 11am. Register here.

View the Media Reporting Guidelines: HIV.

View our HIV Terminology Guidelines.

UNAIDS Zero Discrimination Day campaign: