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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
- Mass media
- Social construction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (all)