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:11/17/2015)... , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces ... joined its Board of Directors. --> ... after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG Capital, ... companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded ... across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015 About ... that helps to identify and verify the identity ... considered as the secure and accurate method of ... a particular individual because each individual,s signature is ... especially when dynamic signature of an individual is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) closed ... events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference took place in Philadelphia, ... number of attendees in more than a decade. , “The 2015 Annual ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... India , November 24, 2015 ... a new market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by ... Application (PCR, Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, ... 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to ... Million in 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% during ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Massachusetts , November 24, 2015 SHPG ... will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare ... Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ... , Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 ... , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: