The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) collaborated with the Southern Africa Editor’s Forum and UNAIDS: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS to create a Media Resource Desk (MRD), which is an effort to expand access to accurate and relevant HIV/AIDS information for media professionals. Designed for journalists from both print and electronic media who have a mandate to report on HIV/AIDS (as well as other relevant media practitioners such as editors, media institutions and media students), the MRD aims to:
  • improve access to information on HIV/AIDS through the use of fact sheets, newsflashes, resource desk material, and the internet
  • improve HIV/AIDS knowledge among journalists in the southern African region
  • improve coverage of HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa.
Communication Strategies: 

The MRD uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) as a central tool for positioning itself as a focal point for any inquiries on HIV/AIDS information by the media, as well as a gateway for SAfAIDS to channel HIV/AIDS information to the media. The goal is to use technology to build a "one-stop shop" for journalists and other media practitioners seeking to access information on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and mitigation.

Specifically, the MRD is an effort to provide journalists with fact sheets, weekly newsflashes on the latest HIV/AIDS developments and trends, up-to-date statistics and vocabulary for accurate reporting, a complete database of media practitioners in the region, and a wide collection of materials related to HIV/AIDS and the media. Email-based discussion forums are meant to inspire interaction and follow-up connection. Statistics relating to HIV and AIDS, information on key HIV and AIDS events, and media briefs on topical issues (e.g., related to prevention, care and support and other topical HIV/AIDS-related issues) are available here as well. To access these online materials, visit the MRD website.

The MRD desk staff's services are accessed through walk-in, telephone, fax, and email. Pre-arranged email discussions with experts provide journalists with the opportunity to ask questions and receive instant answers on given topics.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

The aims of the MRD are:

  • to bridge the HIV/AIDS information gap that exists among journalists and other media practitioners.
  • to attend to the information needs of journalists on a full time basis by making appropriately packaged, ready to use information products and resources available.
  • to provide a quick and efficient service to journalists.
Partner Text: 

Southern Africa Editor’s Forum (SAEF), Media Action Plan (MAP), Gender Links (GL), Gender and Media Southern African (GEMSA) Network, Media Monitoring Project, Panos, SAfAIDS, UNAIDS.


Soul Beat Africa attended the launch of the HIV, AIDS and Gender Baseline Study in Johannesburg May 3 2006.