SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

References to “innocent victims” of AIDS in the media and public discourse imply that other people with AIDS or HIV are blameworthy. In the present study, college undergraduates read two newspaper articles about an “innocent victim” of AIDS, and were required to report what they understood to be the “victim's” message. Very few participants reported the subtext without prompting. When asked directly, however, most respondents (88%) agreed that the “victim” was making an implicit statement about other people with AIDS, and 70% of this subgroup correctly identified the subtext. Compared to other respondents, those who identified the subtext had more positive attitudes toward homosexuals.