In Taiwan there was increased newspaper coverage of HIV/AIDS from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. From 1984 to 1990 the articles generally argued that MSM should stop same-sex sexual behaviour based on their prejudice against and fear of homosexuality. The articles after 1990 shifted to the argument that heterosexual men should stop having sex with female sex workers. After 1995, as people came to be aware of the protection of HIV/AIDS patients’ rights, the Taiwanese government officially accepted condom use. The media has had some effect in the campaign for AIDS prevention. In Taiwan it is said that the diffusion of knowledge and information on AIDS prevention depended on the messages broadcast on television (Yamamoto and Itoh 2006: 243-44).
In Japan, as in Taiwan, during one or two years from 1985 most of the media information on AIDS was sensational. The tone of the press inclined toward the argument that the society should protect the ‘general public’ against the spread of HIV caused by specific people with HIV/AIDS. In this situation the press tended to violate the privacy of people with HIV/AIDS (Buckley 1997: 262-91; Treat 1994: 629-79).
In recent years we seldom see such sensational press articles and information. Instead, there are very few articles dealing with AIDS. During the 1990s, as the number of people with HIV increased, many articles focused on the lives of PwA/PwH. In the 2000s, however, the articles and information on AIDS more or less disappeared. Therefore, at present, the press is not so effective and powerful in HIV/AIDS prevention and education (Yamamoto and Itoh 2006: 143-45) in Japan as it is in Taiwan.
As noted above, apart from the sexual transmission of HIV in Japan, HIV infection among haemophiliacs was a big issue during the 1980s and 1990s. After haemophiliacs filed a suit against the Ministry of Health and Welfare and related doctors, an image emerged that the infected haemophiliacs were ‘innocent’ victims of the medical and administration system but that people infected with HIV through sexual behaviour had brought it on themselves. The media also failed to challenge the view that haemophiliacs with HIV were ‘good’ and that the people with sexually-transmitted HIV should be viewed negatively (on media representations of HIV/AIDS in China, see Hood in this volume).