Comparing Pandemics: HIV/AIDS vs. COVID-19

The following is a project created by Soukie Dia for the course, Media, Culture, and Global Politics, taught by faculty member Nina Khrushcheva.

For my presentation, I chose to compare the media reportage surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic vs the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, I wanted to compare the media reportage that pertains to:

  • The origins and spread of both viruses and the way in which this played into the stigmatization of certain marginalized groups
  • The institutional and communal responses to both viruses
  • The accessibility to treatment and care for both viruses

I picked this topic because I feel like we, as a society, have a lot to learn from the failures of the HIV/AIDS global epidemic, so wide-spread and pervasive that many refer to it as a pandemic. 

While both viruses possess different sets of medical ramifications, both HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 have reached such a level of universal crisis because of the institutional failures that preceded the spread of infections. 

However, an analysis of both pandemics can also remind us of how important it is to acknowledge the role of local government and community organizations that continue to step forward in the absence of coherent intervention by the federal authorities.