PrEP in the press
A corpus-assisted discourse analysis of how users of HIV-prevention treatment are represented in British newspapers
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.
Keywords: PrEP, HIV, corpus linguistics, queer critical discourse analysis, homophobia
Published online: 07 September 2020
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Cited by 3 other publications
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