Central Queensland University
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
The nature of media coverage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) needs to vary in order to be sustained by newspapers—writing the same message, however worthy, loses impact over time. So an interesting innovation in the 2010 coverage of HIV in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the publication of a serialised fiction story in the Post-Courier . It is the story of Vavine, a young girl infected with HIV , who is forced to leave her village after her parents' deaths from AIDS . She keeps her infection secret but because of her circumstances, she is forced to work in a club where sex is freely traded. What makes the story an educational tool, rather than soap opera, is the constant reinforcement of the safe-sex message and exploration of other social issues, including sorcery, beliefs surrounding magic and death, and promiscuity. This represents a shift in reporting towards a better explanation of the disease in the context of broader social and cultural issues. T his type of reporting - that uses narrative fiction - could signal a new and more effective approach for reporting on HIV in the Pacific.