Coverage of HIV by the media influences and affects public and professionals alike, and has a fundamental role in informing and shaping public attitudes about HIV. Coverage also affects people living with HIV. HIV Scotland therefore welcomes media inquiries and supports accurate and informative reporting on social and scientific issues as well as breaking news.
How HIV Scotland can help
HIV Scotland is able to provide the media with statistics, background and policy information.
HIV Scotland is happy to review or advise on any media coverage, and to provide case studies.
George Valiotis, Chief Executive for HIV Scotland, may be available for comment or interview on request on relevant news stories. Please contact
HIV Scotland’s Communications Coordinator Rebecca Sibbett.
on 0131 558 3713 during office hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).
You can also use our form to contact us.
To be added to our database to receive press releases please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous HIV Scotland press releases can be found in our media releases and statements section.
How to report on HIV
Tips for accurate and non-stigmatising reporting
- ensure that “HIV” and “AIDS” are in upper case
- refer to “people living with HIV” (or in some cases “positive people” or “HIV positive people”) for those who are HIV positive
- describe people as “affected by HIV” in relation to those individuals or communities ‘close to’ HIV.
- use terms such as “tackle”, “deal with”, “prevent”, “effectively treat HIV” or similar terms which say what you mean
- refer to “people who inject drugs” in the context of HIV (rather than drug user or intravenous/injecting drug user)
- use the term “men who have sex with men” (MSM) as this refers to the practice of sex between males, whether they personally identify themselves as gay, homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual
- refer to “HIV Scotland” in full, never abbreviations such as ‘HIVS’
- don’t refer to people living with HIV as sufferers or victims
- don’t refer to HIV/AIDS as if the two are synonymous and interchangeable. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS is a collection of defined illnesses and is seldom seen in Scotland since the introduction of new treatments
- don’t adopt military language such as fighting or battling HIV
- don’t overuse the word “stigma” – instead alternatives such as “misunderstanding”, “shame”, “guilt”, “fear”, “prejudice”, “ignorance” may be used in the appropriate context
- Guides to media reporting on HIV are available from NAT
- More information about HIV Scotland
- Statistics, fast-facts and up-to-date information on HIV in Scotland
- The Press Complaints Commission The Code of Practice for Editors provides a touchstone for standards which are particularly relevant to reporting on HIV including accuracy, privacy, non-harassment, non-discrimination and confidentiality
- National AIDS Trust (NAT) Guidelines on Reporting HIV provides practical information on how to report on HIV in an accurate and non-stigmatising way
- NAT has produced a DVD for journalism students
The following acronyms are frequently used in communications relating to HIV:
- AIDS – Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
- ARVs – antiretroviral drugs
- BBV – blood-borne virus
- DoH – Department of Health
- GUM – genito-urinary medicine
- HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- HPA – Health Protection Agency
- HPS – Health Protection Scotland
- IDU – injecting drug user
- IVDU – intravenous drug user
- MSM – men who have sex with men