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“Sex like sweet potatoes”: Framing HIV in Fiji media

while societal HIV issues are well represented through the structural frame, the medical and behavioral frames must also be emphasized to facilitate knowledge about HIV modes of transmission and prevention and thereby reduce discrimination

farzana gounder

on 11 April 2016

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Transcript of “Sex like sweet potatoes”: Framing HIV in Fiji media

“Sex like sweet potatoes”:
Framing HIV in Fiji media

8th Pasifika Massey Conference, 24-25 Nov. 2015 Massey University, Palmerston North
Farzana Gounder
Lecturer, International Pacific College
and Research Associate, University of Waikato

Framing health in the mass media
Combination Prevention Framework

Hunter, former editor of The Fiji Times, in 1999:

We want to deal with an actual disaster

rather than a potential one like AIDS
... Diabetes is a much bigger problem... Numerically, it is a far more immediate problem”.

(Cullen, 2000)

Media and HIV in Fiji
“HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) often seem to lead the health round in Pacific newsrooms”

(Gooch & Williams-Lahari, 2008)

“HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) often seem to lead the health round in Pacific newsrooms”

(Gooch & Williams-Lahari, 2008)

1989-1999: 1-2 new HIV cases per year
While there is a global reduction, in Fiji HIV is on the rise

What has changed?
• Health categorized as disease
• Disease: pathogens
• Deviation from a biological norm
• Can be diagnosed
• Emphasis is on cure, or medical intervention


• Relationship of social structures with macrolevel social, economic and political developments
• Access to medical healthcare
• Emphasis is on people’s health and wellbeing status

Health Behaviour

Individuals’ likelihood of undertaking adaptive health practices
• Individuals’ beliefs, desire, confidence and self-belief
• Illness is the result of poor lifestyle choices
• Emphasis is on prevention

Medical frame (10%)
Pathological disease:
‘Calls for reintroduction of
universal infant prophylaxis
’, May 22, 2012

Blood testing:
HIV test

rates’, November 28, 2013

‘New hep C,
HIV drug
’, July 21, 2014

Medical treatment vs alternative treatment:
‘HIV patient
dies after herbal treatment
’, March 07, 2012

Medicine vs religion:
‘Respondents believe in
faith, prayer cure’
December 15, 2011

Coconut oil cure-fact or fiction

Dr Mary Enig, a biochemist and probably the world's leading expert on coconut oil, writes
"Monolaurin inhibits the growth of many pathogenic microorganisms." One of the ways it does this is by disrupting the lipid membranes of viruses,

and Enig lists HIV, herpes and influenza as examples of viruses that have been shown to be destroyed by monolaurin. 
(March 21, 2010)

HIV patient dies after herbal treatment

A person living with HIV/AIDS who was on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in Suva
and was later treated with herbal medicine

at Lutunavonu, Nailega in Tailevu
has died
(March 07, 2012)

Respondents believe in
faith, prayer cure

A number of people
-including health workers-
who were quizzed in a survey on the transmission of HIV and AIDS say they
believed HIV infection could be cured by faith and prayer
(December 15, 2011)

Health behaviour frame (13%)

determines future: HIV carrier’ May 12, 2007

Never give up
hope’ June 28, 2010

like sweet potatoes’ August 10, 2011

blamed for rise in HIV’ August 15, 2011

is the key’ November 28, 2012

before sex, students told’ September 26, 2012

to do right’ December 1, 2013

"I come from a conservative family and there was no way I could have gotten infected. After I found the courage to tell my husband and my family about my condition,
then only did my husband confess to being HIV positive
," she said. "He told me he got the infection from his first wife."

‘Choice determines future: HIV carrier’, May 12, 2007

In this day and age,
"just go for it" when they want sex, said a 28-year old Fijian woman living with HIV. "When they want it, they just go," she said in a report commissioned by the Pacific Islands AIDS Foundation. "It becomes easier for them to get the virus because they never use condoms and they do not know about HIV."

‘Behaviour blamed’, August 15, 2011
The report released in Nadi last month by Minister for Women Doctor Jiko Luveni said
women and men
were "going for sex" because it was like sweet potatoes.

‘Sex like sweet potatoes’, August 10, 2011
The pull to indulge in risky sexual behaviour in today's modern society is stronger than before. The pressure to conform to a sexual merry-go-round system with its demands and tempting pleasures, is intense.
The young, the middle-aged, the elderly, are all enticed

‘Dare to do right’, December 1, 2013
"People ask me and want me to say abstinence as a preventative measure. But I say, you are full-blooded young adults and you spend eight hours of a day together.
There are those who can abstain and there are those who can't. For those who can't, I say use protection. We know what works and what doesn't.

(‘Think before sex’, September 26, 2012)

Structural frame (77%)
Population trends
‘HIV to claim
lives’ March 19, 2011

62 newly-detected cases
takes HIV/AIDS numbers to 482’, March 7, 2013

Impact of HIV on business sector:

Business council

at HIV/AIDS in workforce’, October 09, 2008

HIV at
’, March 23, 2013

HIV in the
’, April 26, 2013

, STDs and HIV’, September 16, 2011

Governmental actions

‘Cabinet approves
’, January 20, 2011
‘HIV Decree
human rights
based’, July 02, 2011

to address HIV/AIDS’, October 30, 2012

‘Stop, HIV lover told’, April 20, 2008
‘Luveni wants HIV laws’, May 08, 2008
‘Laws on HIV testing’, June 01, 2011

Human rights:

sex trade’, November 28, 2012
‘‘Prisoners have
’ to health care’, June 07, 2011

Laws fail to protect
HIV patients, says advocate’, August 03, 2011

Women’s rights:

Women bear blame
for HIV’, July 26, 2011

Domestic violence:
link to violence
’, August 02, 2011
Increasing societal awareness and reducing societal stigma:

stigma, discrimination
still an issue, April 18, 2013

, February 3, 2014

Efforts of religious organizations:
Council of churches
with HIV-AIDS figures, August 03, 2011
HIV/AIDS sufferers, May 20, 2014

Efforts of sports personalities:
Thursday, March 17, 2011

President’s campaign:
President's visit
inspires, empowers
the young, March 13, 2013


Slide 6: http://www.infinityartgallery.com/portfolios/CampbellM/
Slide 15: http://cafepacific.blogspot.co.nz/2014/09/a-fiji-democratic-mandate-for-coup.html
Slide 16: http://depts.washington.edu/sexmedia/educators/stdhiv/images/cartoon_romeoandjuliet.jpg
Slide 21: http://www.mediaaids.org/blog/category/hiv-cure
Slide 22: http://depts.washington.edu/sexmedia/educators/stdhiv/images/cartoon_johnnyandsue.jpg
Slide 25: http://www.apcom.org/spotlight-haus-khameleon-fiji
Slide 30: http://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/HIV_trends_e.htm
Slide 37: http://www-static2.spulsecdn.net/ pics/00/00/71/91/719106_1_O.jpg
Slide 38: http://www.unaids.org/es/resources/multimediacentre/photos/2011/20101201wad2010aroundworld
Slide 39: https://2010sdafrika.wordpress.com/tag/preparatory-school/

All other references can be found in:
Gounder, F., Gounder, R., Cornelius, M. (2016). “Sex like sweet potatoes”: The Implications of HIV Media Framing in South Pacific Developing Countries. Journal of Public Health in Developing Countries, 2(1), 109-120.

some aspects of a perceived reality, make them more
in a communicating text in such a way as to
promote a particular problem, definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendation
(Entman, 1993)

rights-based, evidence-informed, and community-owned programmes that use a mix of
biomedical, behavioural, and structural interventions
... so as to have the greatest sustained impact on reducing new infections.
UNAIDS, 2009
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