The new 'Guidelines for Reporting HIV', which are available from the NAT's website, were released earlier this summer. They have been developed to "dispel common myths about HIV" and provide information and resources for editors and reporters, a release from NAT states.
"The public get a lot of their knowledge about HIV from the press, so it is important journalists get it right. Accurate reporting benefits public health, dispels myths, undermines prejudice and increases understanding. We hope these guidelines will help journalists update their knowledge about HIV in the 21st century," says Deborah Jack, chief executive of the NAT, in a release.
According to the trust, common reporting mistakes about HIV include confusing AIDS and HIV and suggesting that HIV is inevitably deadly.
The updated guide follows previous reporting advice produced by the NAT in association with the National Union of Journalists in 2007 and 2009. For the new guidelines the NAT has secured the support of the NUJ, Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and Society of Editors.
"While public and media understanding of HIV and AIDS has improved, it remains vital that the press takes particular care when reporting on these issues - both by being accurate and by respecting the privacy of those who live with either condition. The PCC has a clear role to play in resolving complaints, upholding and improving standards, and providing a public service to those who have concerns about the press," says Stephen Abell, director of the PCC, in a statement on the NAT website.