Chinese Newspapers' Coverage of HIV Transmission over a Decade (2000-2010): Where HIV Stigma Arises

Chunbo Ren, Stacey J.T. Hust, Peng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recent studies have revealed serious HIV stigmatization in Chinese media discourse. The current study extends previous research by exploring how HIV transmission was portrayed in Chinese media discourse, particularly how the media framed HIV transmission for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and affected groups. The study used quantitative content analysis to examine articles published in each of the eight Chinese news outlets one week before and one week after World AIDS Day every other year from 2000 to 2010. The results suggest that Chinese newspaper articles label PLHIV and stereotype certain social groups to reinforce an "us versus them" dichotomy. Chinese media promote two different views of PLHIV that are dependent on the manner in which people contracted HIV. Individuals who contracted HIV through socially acceptable means (e.g., blood transfusion) were worthy of being featured. In contrast, individuals who contracted HIV through socially unacceptable means (e.g., intravenous drug use) were less likely to be identified as individuals and were instead devalued as nondescript members of a deviant and dangerous group. This dichotomy reinforces HIV stigmatization and will mitigate China's anti-stigma efforts. The study provides health care professionals and anti-stigma advocates a specific picture of HIV stigmatization in the Chinese media context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-284
Number of pages18
JournalChinese Journal of Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • HIV stigmatization
  • HIV stigmatization in media
  • HIV stigmatization in newspapers
  • HIV transmission
  • HIV/AIDS in China


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