Navigation Links
Careless reporting on HIV 'could cost lives'

Medical researchers must engage with the media to ensure that controversy surrounding HIV/AIDS is reported accurately, concludes a study.

Failure to do so could have disastrous consequences for public health, says Edward Mills, lead author of the paper in the online journal BMC International Health and Human Rights.

Mills says that media reports were partly responsible for trials of the HIV drug tenofovir being cancelled in Cambodia in 2004 and in Cameroon earlier this year (see Cambodia's prime minister halts AIDS drug trial, and Cameroon suspends trial of AIDS drug after protests).

Mills and colleagues found that media reports about opposition to the trials varied greatly, and some were "entirely incorrect".

Some reports said opposition grew because trial participants were not offered adequate medical insurance, others said it was because those taking part were being exploited, and still others said it was because participants were given consent forms that they could not understand.

This high variability shows the difficulty in getting information from trial organisers, says Mills.

Mills, who used to run clinical trials but now works on human rights aspects of HIV trials, acknowledges that it is difficult to say what led the Cambodian prime minister and Cameroon's Ministry of Public Heath to close the trials down.

But he believes the media reports combined with activists' protests to "create a situation that brought embarrassment to the ministries".

Mills says that given the role of the media in reporting on future trials, the purpose of his team's study is "not to blame the media, but to encourage [researchers] to engage with the media".

Bruce Lewenstein, professor of science communication at Cornell University in the United States, told SciDev.Net that the study's conclusion that trial organisers must more actively engage the media is not new.

He adds though that this might be the fir st time a report has shown that failing to do this can have serious political and public health consequences, such as ending clinical trials.

However, says Lewenstein, [Mills and his colleagues] are "writing from a perspective in which they are convinced that the trials should have proceeded".

Public engagement in science involves, he explains, "giving up a bit of the power to decide when a trial proceeds and when it does not."

In agreement with Mills and colleagues, he says "this means there is a much greater responsibility on the scientists to engage with the community in advance".

In Cameroon, the allegations of breaches of ethics prompted the government to set up an independent inquiry, which led to the interruption of the trial.

Link to full paper in BMC International Health and Human Rights

Reference: BMC International Health and Human Rights 5, 6 (2005)



Related biology news :

1. Novel live reporting system to track cells
2. Biased reporting found in cancer prognostic studies
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 2016 Das DOTM ... Nepal hat ein 44 Millionen ... Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an ... und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale ... teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste und ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: ... been advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund ... United States based venture capital funds ... of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), ... disposition of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer ... what they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural ... Click here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly ... technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is ... manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016  Liquid Biotech USA ... a Sponsored Research Agreement with The University of ... from cancer patients.  The funding will be used ... with clinical outcomes in cancer patients undergoing a ... be employed to support the design of a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: