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Pickle, Kathryn; Quinn, Sandra Crouse; & Brown, Jane D. (2002). HIV/AIDS Coverage in Black Newspapers, 1991-1996: Implications for Health Communication and Health Education. Journal of Health Communication, 7(5), 427-444.


HIV/AIDS coverage in five African American newspapers (Amsterdam [New York] News, Oakland [California] Post, Washington [District of Columbia] Afro American, Atlanta Inquirer, and Chicago Citizen) was analyzed from 1991 to 1996. During this period, HIV/AIDS became the leading cause of death of young adult African Americans. This study found that coverage of the disease was most prominent in the New York, Oakland, and Washington, D.C., African American newspapers. Although most of the 201 articles analyzed framed the story primarily as a health issue, a large proportion also exhibited a critical attitude toward the government and the "AIDS establishment" about their commitment to saving the lives of minorities. Articles often conveyed the message that fighting HIV/AIDS first requires substantial action regarding the larger contextual issues-economic, political, and social-that cause health inequities. Alternative theories of cause and treatment, such as the possibility that AIDS was created as an extermination plot against African Americans, or that the drug Kemron, endorsed by the Nation of Islam, was the most promising treatment for HIV, generally were discussed as legitimate even though much evidence exists to refute these theories. These frames reflect distrust and rational concerns rooted in the historical context of American race relations, including the legacy of the Tuskegee study. Increased understanding of the frames presented in the African American press may contribute to the ability of researchers, health practitioners, and health journalists to constructively respond to the concerns of the African American community.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Health Communication


Pickle, Kathryn
Quinn, Sandra Crouse
Brown, Jane D.