Influence of Media on HIV Advocacy

As highlighted in the course reading, media as a window on the world has a responsibility of giving a perfect package of information about what is happening around the globe. Notably, it has a role in controlling public awareness on the transmission and exposure to HIV. A UNAID report on those affected directly, PLWH, shows that wrongful and biased communication often disadvantage People Living with HIV (PLWH). Besides, it blocks sympathy from the well-wishers. Also, it inhibits good relations between the victims and community members. However, broadcasting correct and detailed information builds the right awareness as well as slowing down the spread of HIV/AIDS.

A research article available on the National Biotechnology information Center shows that positive and truthful media campaigns result to increased awareness of HIV/AIDS and the right prevention mechanisms. The U.S introduced a VISION Project in Nigeria that showed a positive impact on educating the population on dangers of HIV/AIDS. The program focused on reaching out to a larger population, particularly those with limited access to any form of media in the rural areas. The information distributed included the importance of practicing safe sex and equipping people with helpful information on addressing HIV patients. These activities were aimed at generating positive effects of distributing proper health-related news and support programs. Therefore, such national involvements should be raised internationally. Besides, mass media should be educated on information honesty and accuracy especially in those regions experiencing inequalities.

635975763239472267148272066_STOPhivHowever, the case seems different in China due to dishonesty in media publications which significantly increases the spread of this disease. The threat of HIV/AIDS is a serious concern as shown by the increasing involvements by both the government and the NGOs to improve the awareness of the disease. Notably, J. Hood’s article, Media perception on HIV in China similarly explains this message by shedding light on the poor and racial media messages in China. These messages suggest a wrong sense of HIV insusceptibility among the elite Chinese natives. In this case, the media presents a biased health information to the public which paints the Africans and the unfortunate natives in rural China as the most vulnerable to the disease. They relate the disease to misfortunes such as poverty mainly linked to the poor Blacks’ nations or unlucky people. From the course readings, this is a presentation of a stereotype. In this case, such stereotypes happen to portray the Han Chinese as immune to HIV. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that such beliefs should be challenged to improve a global concern of fighting this epidemic.

The practice of researching and presenting accurate and well-informed content to the citizens promotes the spread of the right information. Also, it allows for the fair administration of health services among those affected without fears.


-Qing Li


Dreaming Social Media

There is no doubt about it that in the modern era of 2016, social media is taking over the country. A recent survey shows that in the past 3 years, the percentage of the US population that uses social media has increased by 16% and is at 78% in 2016. Social media has become so intrusive in our daily lives that it affects almost all aspects of it; including our sleep.


Young adults make up the majority of consistent social media users. According to the Huffington Post, a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh examined 1,788 young adults between the ages of 19-32. Researchers observed their social media frequency and volume, as well as their sleep patterns. On average, participants use social media for about an hour total each day. The scientists found a strong correlation between social media frequency and volume and a greater chance of sleep disruption. They saw that subjects who frequented social media sites often woke up during the night to check media or had some form of sleep problems. Further studies show that college students who use social media during sleeping hours experience fatigue during the day as well as cognitive impairment and are more likely to use sleep medication. Social media and sleep problems can also have affects on individual’s mental state and can increase anxiety and depression.

This video highlights the University of Pittsburgh study examining the correlation between social media use and sleep disruption:

The researchers of the study however, state that they are uncertain if social media is the cause for the sleep disruption in many individuals, or if it is because of the sleep disruption that the frequency of social media use increases. What other facets of our health does social media affect? Will social media keep growing and eventually affect the entirety of our lives or has it already reached this point?

– By Justin Smick

Revolutionizing Fitness

America has always been stereotyped as being the most fat or obese country.  Americans are constantly busy with obligations and have little time to attribute to other important activities in health.  In turn, fast food industries reign supreme over the average American diet.  But how can we combat this? Americans hardly have enough time to eat healthfully let alone set aside time for physical activity.  However, within the past several years, fitness trackers have emerged as one of the most popular fitness apparatus of its time.

Fitness trackers use accurate measurements of physical activity along with setting micro goals to motivate users and encourage them to move around more.  However, one of the more revolutionizing aspects of these fitness trackers are their use of social media and community.  Fitness trackers such as Fitbit take advantage of social media’s influence on our daily lives.  Fitbit allows you to connect with your social media accounts and share your activity, goals, and achievements with your friends and family.  A CNN tech article highlights a perfect example of friendly competition between two men who have only met over the internet.  This article explains that biker Leon Shaner and his online friend rode their bikes at the same time and exchanged words of motivation and encouragement.  They also shared fitness stats from their fitness trackers and tried to beat each other’s distances.  Shaner exclaimed that he rode twice the distance than what he would have because of the motivation from his online friend.

Fitness trackers not only inspire and push small groups of people, but have an impact on entire universitiesup-for-groups-fitness-tracker-jawbone-psfk-964x644, work places, and communities.  A global cloud-consultancy firm known as Appirio, saw fitness trackers as an opportunity to promote physical activity and healthiness to its employees.  In this article, Appirio gave 250 of its employees as well as 300 participants received fitness wristbands to track their physical performances.  These individuals were able to share progress and fitness stats, as well as relay each other tips and healthful cooking recipes.

Fitness trackers have brought the world a new breed of motivation.  By combining human’s natural tendencies of competition with the prevalence of social media worldwide, individuals are more enthused than ever to exercise.  What new forms of motivation does the power of social media possess for fitness in the future?

– By Justin Smick

Whatever happened to Vitaminwater?

As I am walking through a convenient store I walk along the aisles of food and come to the back where the fridges with cokes and beer are and then I notice on one small row are the Vitaminwaters. I think to myself, do people still drink this? Why? This drink didn’t even taste good. How were they so popular and how did they stay in business for so long? When did the advertisements stop for this?

vitamin water

Upon further research, I learn that like most great American companies, this one started when somebody had an idea and nothing to lose. A recently, divorced man J. Darius Bikoff gets sick and mixes his mineral water with a vitamin C packet and voila, the idea of Vitaminwater is born. Bikoff starts Energy Brands ® with little to business experience and it takes off, grossing 350 million dollars a year. A couple years later, Coca- Cola buys the small business for 4.1 billion dollars. And that was when I realized how Vitaminwater had prospered for so long, Coca- Cola fueled them and marketed them. It was all starting to make sense.

However, the question came into my mind, if Coca- Cola owns Vitaminwater is it even healthy? Apparently according to a lawsuit filed in 2013 by the states of Florida, Missouri, Ohio, and the Virgin Islands, Vitaminwater isn’t as healthy as its commercials claim. It may have started out healthy but since the buy out by Coca- Cola, the formula has been altered to include crystallized fructose which is know to cause fat deposition in cells. The vitamins in Vitaminwater are mainly Vitamin B and C which are almost never lacking in a person’s diet. Also, the extra amount of vitamins in Vitaminwater may even be deleterious to a person’s health based on studies where synthesized vitamins were compared to vitamins contained in grown food. Bottom line- vitaminwater is not healthy and is actually harmful to your health if consumed in large quantities.

If this is the case then why do celebrities endorse this product? The main spokesman I can think of for Vitaminwater was the rapper 50 cent . 50 cent who is a minor shareholder of Vitaminwater took in roughly 75- 100 million dollars between 2005 and 2007, so his endorsement was easy- for the money. But why 50 cent? Vitaminwater wanted to appeal to young urban consumers so they used hip hop artists and athletes to market their drinks even though it has almost no benefit for the athletes.


Thanks to the aforementioned lawsuit and less Vitaminwater advertisements being shown by Media companies, Vitaminwater is slowly dying out. However, the lawsuit brought up a good question, who can regulate what is shown through media? The FCC should but seems to need work in the area of health beverages so drinks like Vitaminwater are not shown to young urban kids as healthy. Vitaminwater is a prime example of what happens without tight regulations on health advertisements and demonstrates the powerful control large corporations like Coca- cola have on consumers when even proposed health benefitting drinks turn out to be deleterious beverages.

-Steven Kaufman

Listening Under the Influence: A Musical Happy Hour

Music has always been an influential part of our lives. It’s been there during our up and downs; our celebrations and breakups. We listen to during our commutes and when we’re bored. It has the power to change the atmosphere of an entire venue and change our mood and state of mind. There is no despite that music as immense control, but what affect does a song’s lyrics have over us?

When I walk to class in the morning, the walk can be quite long and I get bored easily. I like to listen to popular hip-hop and rap music. These types of songs are catchy, have good flow and rhythm, and make me feel gangster as I walk to class. However, their lyrics and underlying messages may not be so pleasant. According to a New York Times article called, “Under the Influence of… Music?” by Tara Parker-Pope, teenagers listen to 2.5 hours of music everyday on average. Additionally, one in three popular songs contain references to alcohol or substance abuse. As technology advances, young individuals have access to an increasing amount of media. This includes mp3 players and digital music.

Music is an important part of young culture and deeply connects to adolescents. If I, a 22-year-old college student, feels cool listening to hip-hop songs that includes alcohol on a daily basis, what effects could this have on teenagers still in puberty and growing wake-up-drank-e1357555310933as an individual? Songs such as Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar are exclusively about alcohol. Practically every other line has the word “drank” in it. He also references how he knows many people who “live their life in bottles” as well as his “Grandaddy had a golden flask.” The fact that he has a golden flask makes alcohol seem vital and almost holy. He then goes on to sing about diving into a swimming pool full of liquor.


Other songs emphasize the necessity of alcohol to have fun and be cool. The majority of these music videos feature a man walking to a club with having many bottles around him. He gets all the girls in the club and everyone is having fun. Additionally, the very rappers and artists that create these songs also endorse alcohol brands. According to an article in the Daily Mail by Sara Malm, teens imitate the behavior and actions of their favorite artists. The rapper 50 Cent endorses Hennessey and Bacardi in many of his songs and music videos and entices teens to drink his liquor. Practically every famous hip-h3252566392_fdcf961e66_oop artist endorses some brand of alcohol. Famous rapper, P. Diddy even owns the brand of Ciroc vodka.


Teens are already drinking alcohol below the legal age limit, but with the popularity of alcohol in modern day songs, underage drinking is more prevalent than ever. However, is this even a significant issue? Many countries in Europe have a legal drinking age much lower compared to the United States. Additionally, with the ease of access of media devices to play music, little can be done to limit young adults from listening to explicit songs.

-by Justin Smick