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PlusNews Weekly Issue 188, 2 July 2004

1. Media handbook guides journalists through HIV vaccine trials, guides scientists in dealing with the media

The United Nations has published a practical new media handbook for African journalists and scientists interested in reporting on HIV vaccine trials currently being conducted across the continent. The handbook aims to equip journalists with the skills to interact with scientists while researching stories, by providing a background briefing on vaccine trials, exploring the most frequently asked questions, and suggesting new avenues for media investigation.

The handbook also seeks to advise scientists on how best to deal with the media, gives tips on innovative ways of packaging stories, assisting with research, and ensuring that as few mistakes as possible slip through to publication. Each section of the handbook provides information on issues relating to HIV vaccine trials, ranging from public perception to ethical issues relating to trials, and how to avoid sensationalism or misunderstandings when reporting the process.

The 45-page handbook is published by UNAids and is available free of charge. Call: (+41-22) 791-4651, fax (+41-22) 791-4187, or email:
Visit the UNAids website: www.unaids.org

2. Reaching Out-of-School Youth with Reproductive Health and HIV Information and Services

Youth Issues Paper 4 is now available. It explores different populations of out-of-school youth, examines the link between schooling and safer sexual behaviours, and presents programmes that work with young people who do not or cannot attend formal schools. Four case studies detailing programmes working with mainstream and marginalised youth are included.

Go to: www.fhi.org

3. Project to give women working against HIV/AIDS globally a voice

Open Democracy (www.opendemocracy.net) the global magazine of politics and culture, has a project: to give voice to the voiceless women working against HIV/AIDS all over the world. They are looking for a few representative, strong women with strong stories to tell about HIV/AIDS; women who have direct experience of the problem in their communities, and are working locally to create real solutions.

Open Democracy is not interested in hearing from the top levels of bureaucracies but from the field, from the women in villages and slums who have formed local action groups, are working on prevention measures or with PWA, widows, widowers and orphans. Women who have real practical experience of the problems at the local level. The project hopes to hear their visions and ideas for the future care and prevention of HIV/AIDS in their communities.

What do these women think is driving the epidemic in their community? What is the local story? How is it affecting girls and women? What are girls and women doing about it? What is their perspective on the epidemic; what is their perspective on sexual behaviour and customs; what is their perspective on the behaviour of their menfolk? And on the behaviour of women & girls? What changes do they want to take place? How do they think these changes could be achieved? What do they think can and should be done, however simple? And what are THEIR fears for the future if these things are NOT done?

Write to Robert Walgate at with the names, places and ideas that will make this series sing.


Numéros spéciaux

SÉNÉGAL: Les réfugiés de la vallée du fleuve Sénégal ne «connaissent pas» le sida
RÉPUBLIQUE CENTRAFRICAINE: “Oublier la mort” pour lutter pour la vie des jeunes filles
MALI: “Un salaire, pas une indemnité !”
CÔTE D IVOIRE: Réhabiliter le système de santé pour contrer le VIH/SIDA -- Min
LIBERIA: Le VIH/SIDA, la dernière des priorités dans l'est

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