In this study we examined the social construction of stigma toward HIV/AIDS in the Israeli press by comparing newspaper articles on HIV/AIDS, a highly stigmatized illness, and heart disease, a nonstigmatized illness in Israel. We carried out thematic content analysis of 242 newspaper articles published over a 12-month period. Two counter themes emerged from the analysis. HIV/AIDS was portrayed as a "foreign illness" mainly afflicting immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. In addition, HIV/AIDS was constructed as a disease of "the deviant other," particularly gay men, who pose risk to themselves and those around them. By contrast, heart disease was defined as a "local illness" of "ordinary" individuals, and an unpredictable phenomenon. The mirror images of HIV/AIDS and heart disease, which were involved in the stigmatizing process of HIV/AIDS, reflect the wider moral-sociocultural order of Israeli society.
- heart health
- illness and disease
- social construction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health