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      Public image and governance of epidemics: Comparing HIV/AIDS and SARS

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          Abstract

          A comparative analysis of the 2002–2003 infectious disease outbreak, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has affected the world over the past two decades reveals the significant role of socio-cultural beliefs and attitudes in the shaping of people's lifestyles and approaches to the control and prevention of epidemics. The main research question is: what can we learn from the SARS experience about effective prevention of HIV/AIDS? The sources of data include population figures on the development of these epidemics and findings from two sociological studies of representative samples of Singapore's multi-ethnic population. The comparative study illustrates the impact of cultural beliefs and attitudes in shaping the public image of these two different infectious diseases; the relevance of public image of the disease for effective prevention and control of epidemics.

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          Most cited references 27

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          A critical analysis of the Brazilian response to HIV/AIDS: lessons learned for controlling and mitigating the epidemic in developing countries.

          The Brazilian National AIDS Program is widely recognized as the leading example of an integrated HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment program in a developing country. We critically analyze the Brazilian experience, distinguishing those elements that are unique to Brazil from the programmatic and policy decisions that can aid the development of similar programs in other low- and middle-income and developing countries.Among the critical issues that are discussed are human rights and solidarity, the interface of politics and public health, sexuality and culture, the integration of prevention and treatment, the transition from an epidemic rooted among men who have sex with men to one that increasingly affects women, and special prevention and treatment programs for injection drug users.
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            Representations of far-flung illnesses: the case of Ebola in Britain.

            In western cultures lay people are faced with a plethora of far-flung illnesses, relayed to them by the mass media. A number of social scientists have called for scrutiny of the link between people's patterns of thinking concerning such events, and the messages to which they are exposed. Using the outbreaks of Ebola in Africa in the mid-1990s as a vehicle, the study examines how British broadsheets and their readers, and British tabloids and their readers, make sense of this far-flung illness. Existing work on early representations of HIV/AIDS in the west is utilised to inform the research questions. In particular, this study investigates whether Ebola is constructed as a threat, how media and lay representations of Ebola interact, and whether there are different pockets of shared thinking, or a more uniform representation, in relation to Ebola in Britain. An analysis of the themes in 48 broadsheet and tabloid articles, and 50 interviews with their readers, reveals a common picture in which Ebola is represented as African. associated with African practices, and seen as posing little threat to Britain. However, group differences exist, and are characterised by a more essentialised vision of Ebola in the tabloids and their readers, in contrast to a focus on structural features linked to Ebola's escalation in the broadsheets and their readers. In terms of the media-mind relationship, beyond the similarities found between media type and their respective readers' ideas, certain key differences exist: While the newspapers make Ebola 'real' by referring to its potential to globalise. as well as to how it can be contained, lay thinkers feel detached from it, and draw an analogy between Ebola and science fiction. This is discussed as a method of symbolic coping on the part of the readers, as well as in terms of the power exerted by media imagery on lay representations of Ebola.
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              AIDS-related discrimination in Asia.

              The Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+) conducted the first regional documentation of AIDS-related discrimination in Asia. This project was an action-based, peer-implemented study that aimed to develop an understanding of the nature, pattern and extent of AIDS-related discrimination in several Asian countries. Trained HIV-positive people interviewed 764 positive people in four countries (India 302; Indonesia 42; Thailand 338; the Philippines 82) using a structured questionnaire. Findings indicate that the major area of discrimination in each country is within the health sector, where over half of those surveyed experienced some form of discrimination. In all countries, the majority of people did not receive pre-test counselling before being tested for HIV. People who reported coerced testing were significantly more likely than other respondents to face subsequent AIDS-related discrimination. A considerable number of respondents were refused treatment after being diagnosed with HIV and many experienced delayed provision of treatment or health services. Breaches of confidentiality by health workers were common. Within the family and the community, women were significantly more likely to experience discrimination than men, including ridicule and harassment, physical assault and being forced to change their place of residence because of their HIV status. These findings have serious implications, particularly in light of the increasing trend in many countries to test all pregnant women in order to prevent transmission of HIV to their unborn children.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Health Policy
                Health Policy
                Health Policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
                Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
                0168-8510
                1872-6054
                2 May 2006
                February 2007
                2 May 2006
                : 80
                : 2
                : 253-272
                Affiliations
                Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore, AS1 03–06, 11 Arts Link, Singapore 117570, Singapore
                Article
                S0168-8510(06)00053-4
                10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.03.002
                7132530
                16632071
                Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                Categories
                Article

                Social policy & Welfare

                medical sociology, asia, risk-taking, public image of disease, sars, hiv/aids, epidemics

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