Centre for Communication Impact

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Science cafés make HIV reporting a piece of cake

The HIV&AIDS Media Project keeps journalists and media practitioners in the know with its new series of intimate and informal health science cafes.<--break->

In line with its goal to support media practitioners writing on the technically and socially complex HIV epidemic, the HIV&AIDS Media Project hosted two well-attended health science cafes in August and September.

Science cafes, also known as cafe scientifique, are becoming an increasingly popular concept for making complex new developments in science accessible to the media and the broader public. Typically these cafes feature an invited guest who delivers a brief expert talk, followed by casual conversation. Everything is in lay terms and the atmosphere is informal.

The HIV&AIDS Media Project's version of the science cafe focuses specifically on health and HIV and has been designed with journalists' busy schedule in mind. These health science cafes offer the ideal opportunity for the media to connect with an expert and get targeted information--all in the time it takes to grab a quick bite and something to drink.

The first cafe, titled "It's complicated", kicked off in August at the Wits Art Museum with Anova's Sindi van Zyl chatting about the basics of HIV and sharing her experience working in the public health system and using social media to be a more effective doctor.

Infectious diseases specialist Dr Kevin Rebe took journalists through the most exciting breakthroughs in HIV prevention and treatment at September's 'Bringing sexy back' cafe, explaining how these developments could facilitate healthier sex lives.

The project plans to continue to host regular health science cafes.