PrEP in the press

Journal article

Jones, Lucy and Collins, Luke (2020) PrEP in the press: A corpus-assisted discourse analysis of how users of HIV-prevention treatment are represented in British newspapers. Journal of Language and Sexuality. 9(2), 202-25

Link to manuscript

This research reports on newspaper representations of PrEP, a HIV-prevention drug recently made available on a trial basis to at-risk individuals in England. Using corpus-assisted queer critical discourse analysis, we investigate the linguistic representations of the users of PrEP within three leading British newspapers from across the political spectrum between 2014-18. We find that users of PrEP are most frequently positioned as ‘men who have sex with men’ or ‘gay men’, a representation that we argue limits public awareness of HIV itself, and of available HIV prevention. Furthermore, while the most left-leaning newspaper in our corpus focuses on the human benefit of PrEP, the most right-leaning newspaper takes a moralistic stance which frames gay men as risk-taking and therefore less deserving of healthcare funding than other groups. We therefore argue that certain representations of PrEP’s beneficiaries are implicitly homophobic, and that most representations are unhelpfully restrictive.

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