Recently, the HIV community noted a disconnect between Healthline’s HIV content and the actual experiences of those living with HIV. Healthline strives to recognize and support the differences in each patient community that it serves. Based on the feedback, Healthline rapidly created a task force of advocates, patients, and renowned practicing clinicians to ensure that resources on the site match the needs of the community — who have varying perspectives and approaches to their lifestyle, condition, and treatment
HIV treatment and practice varies by location and by the population being treated, according to Dr. Carl Dieffenbach,PhD, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Health. As an online resource for HIV information, Healthline helps users around the country and even the world, and so must stay up-to-date on the latest developments regarding the disease. “We are living in the golden age of prevention research and injectable therapy options both domestically and internationally,” says Dieffenbach, who agreed that, as an online health publisher, Healthline has a mandate to keep up with the changes in the scientific community and work to educate all users about HIV.
To achieve this in its recent content update, Healthline partnered with HIV advocates to provide information that aligns to the needs and perspectives of people living with HIV, their allies, and the clinicians who care for them. Changes to the content included removing stigmatizing language and adjusting the tone to accurately reflect what the HIV community says and feels.
“While Healthline has historically been very proud of our rigorous approach to content development that stems from medical and clinical guidelines and editorial best practices, we wanted to revamp our content for the HIV community especially to further support patients and caregivers,” said Tracy Stickler, editor-in-chief at Healthline. “In line with Healthline’s mission to be the most trusted ally in the pursuit of health and well-being, we want the HIV community to know that we heard them and we are taking action to ensure that Healthline continues to be a resource for them.”
The biggest clinical change was the long-awaited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement regarding HIV transmission. Healthline’s task force also learned that the stigma and language around transmission are particularly sensitive issues for the community. All related HIV transmission content is currently being updated to accurately reflect the new medical consensus that having an undetectable viral load means that you can’t transmit the virus — full stop. Healthline is also focusing on sex-positive messaging in its HIV content and avoiding terms like “infected,” which contribute to stigma.
Beyond HIV, Healthline is committed to medically accurate and empathetic content and resources across the platform. Healthline will continue to listen closely to the needs of communities living with specific conditions and assemble similar task forces to update content with the hope of further serving the needs of communities and their allies.