I grew up in Jamaica, I went to high school there and we got a fair bit of education about AIDS in my opinion. I recently had the opportunity to watch a one hour special entitled “Tell Somebody: The New Face of HIV/AIDS.” This special, created by Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, supplied me with several facts about AIDS and HIV coverage in the media both in Miami and South Africa that I was not fully aware of. It was a rare opportunity to consider what coverage the media gives to the epidemic outside my own home country.
There were several facts that struck me as I watched. The earliest of which was that the idea that was expected that half of South African men would eventually get AIDS. I can honestly say that I cannot imagine living with that being such a possibility for the future. The special went on to cover South Africa’s media’s attempts to educate the public. It all felt kind of familiar to me. Jamaica, I had seen with my own eyes, had similar social movements, just not on the scale as I was seeing here. AIDS is a global epidemic and with such things it is usually the poorer nations of the world that are most at risk. It is admirable the degree of social consciousness that South Africa’s media is taking with trying to educate the public.
In contrast to this we get a glimpse of Miami. Something that I did not know before watching was that Miami was the number one city for AIDS cases in the United States. That’s a scary fact to learn, especially when you reside near Miami like I do. I can honestly say that I have never heard this before. I think that speaks volumes of the media coverage in America. You would think that the media groups in one of the most advanced and forward thinking nations in the world would be doing everything capable to stem the tide of growing AIDS and HIV numbers, but alas, it appears that it may not be a priority.
I feel it my responsibility as not only a journalism student, but also a human being to do as the student project that spawned this special set out to do: tell someone. So, I’m telling you, whoever you may be, to look into it, to learn for yourself what the media may not be telling you about something that you may have to learn is a bigger threat to you than you know