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Keywords:

  • media;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • Internet;
  • representation;
  • social movements

Abstract This paper seeks to understand better the media practices of people who are directly affected by an illness or health problem. Internet sites that have been created by people with HIV/AIDS are examined as a strategy for self-representation. This analysis identifies four prominent ‘organising themes’ in Internet sites: autobiography; expertise; self promotion; and dissent. It is argued that there is a connection between media activism within the contemporary AIDS movement and Internet use among people with HIV/AIDS. This paper discusses the potential of the Internet, as a form of media activism, to raise the private troubles of people with health problems as public issues through a revitalisation of the public sphere in contemporary post-industrial societies.