Sky News journalist Kay Burley was criticised after describing a sexual health centre in Soho as an ‘Aids clinic’ following the accidental disclosure of 780 patients’ HIV status.
56 Dean Street has apologised after accidentally CC-ing in the names and email addresses of 780 HIV positive patients in what is thought to be the biggest data breach of its kind.
Burley was criticised for using ‘dated’ terminology on Twitter while covering the clinic’s apology. Though several people attempted to explain why HIV was a more preferable term to AIDs, Burley insisted she was correct.
Patrick Strudwick, LGBT Editor for Buzzfeed UK, explained to her that the word ‘aids’ isn’t even used by doctors anymore, who favour the term ‘Late-stage’ or ‘advanced HIV’.
Aids clinic which revealed patients names: Clearly this is completely unacceptable. We are urgently investigating how this has happened— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) September 2, 2015
@KayBurley it's called HIV, welcome to 2015.— Steve H (@srheywood) September 2, 2015
@KayBurley sexual health clinic/G.U.M clinic. You can contract HIV which if left, develops into AIDS & you die from AIDS related illness— Lee W D (@Hotdesigner) September 2, 2015
@KayBurley The word you're looking for is HIV. "Aids" is not a word used by doctors anymore. "Late-stage or "advanced HIV" is.— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) September 2, 2015
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of gay men’s health charity GMFA, told The Independent that it is important to distinguish between the two.
"AIDS remains a particularly emotive term," he said. "People with HIV can lead full, productive lives and if diagnosed in time can have a normal life-expectancy.
"The stigma around HIV, much of it related to the fear of AIDS, discourages testing and can itself contribute to poorer health for people with HIV."
He added that due to significant improvements in HIV treatment, it is “comparatively rare” for anyone in the UK to receive an AIDS diagnosis.
Hodson added that in 2013, there were 6,000 HIV cases diagnosed in the UK and only 320 AIDS diagnoses.