Configuring the PrEP user: Framing Pre-exposure Prophylaxis in UK newsprint 2012 – 2016

Ingrid Young, Nicola Boydell, Chris Pattersonc, Shona Hilton, Lisa M McDaid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been hailed as a revolutionary intervention for HIV prevention. PrEP’s controversial status in the UK has generated significant media coverage. It is important to understand what role the media plays in framing PrEP policy issues. We undertook a qualitative analysis of UK newsprint articles between 2012-2016 to examine how PrEP was framed as a public health intervention up until a controversial policy decision not to provide PrEP in England. We identified how scientific evidence was deployed to shape two narratives: ir/responsible citizens focused on imagined PrEP users and their capacity to use PrEP effectively; and the public health imperative, which described the need for PrEP. Our analysis demonstrates the particular ways in which scientific evidence contributed to the certainty of PrEP as an effective intervention within UK newsprint. Scientific evidence also played a key role in framing PrEP as an intervention specifically for cis-gendered gay and bisexual men, playing into wider debates about who is a deserving patient and appropriate use of public resources. Practitioners in the UK and elsewhere should be aware of these constructions of the PrEP user to ensure equitable access to PrEP beyond gay and bisexual men.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalCulture, Health & Sexuality
Early online date7 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2020


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