chapter  4
14 Pages

Disease, Representation, and Public Relations: A Discourse Analysis of HIV/AIDS Websites

This chapter offers an empirical contribution to a topic that has received mostly normative and philosophical discussion by focusing on a moral ground for health messages. As targeted, goal-driven communication that seeks to effect positive changes in people's lives by promoting health and preventing diseases, health communication efforts are taken for granted to be benevolent endeavors grounded morally in noble, altruistic justifications and beneficent regard for others. Health communication sets itself apart from other mass communicated, persuasive messages. Health communication interventions can also create unintended harm through fear appeals or implicit values that stigmatize a particular group of individuals, such as unwed mothers, smokers or AIDs patients, or when preventive or treatment activities are communicated in a positive light highlighting only the good and downplaying the potential risks. The chapter focuses on tobacco control messages, a rich locus for understanding the ethics of health communication, by applying the TARES.