Wanted: new writers for aidsmap

Image: The Gender Spectrum Collection

Over the past few months you may have noticed some new names appearing on aidsmap.com. We have been supporting new writers to develop their skills and would like to hear from others who would be interested in joining us.

For several years we relied on a small pool of talented and experienced scientific writers. We are now aiming to empower a new generation of communicators, so as to increase the size and diversity of our editorial team.

We’ve therefore designed a programme, called Emerging Voices, to give new writers the opportunity to gain experience and develop their skills and in a professional and supportive environment.

We’re looking to recruit people with a range of skills and interests. You might have a proven ability to write well, developed in relation to a different topic or style of writing, and be interested in working on HIV. You might be involved in HIV advocacy and want to develop as a writer. There may be specific HIV issues that you would be particularly interested in communicating about.

We also want our team to better reflect those communities with the highest prevalence of HIV. We hope this programme will address the under-representation of black, ethnic minority, trans and young people in scientific writing.

Several talented people have already joined the programme and we’re looking to recruit several more. It’s been rewarding for me to work with Bakita Kasadha and Oğuzhan Nuh, two young HIV advocates living in London and Istanbul respectively, as they have developed their skills. Both chose to start with some of our simpler and more discrete editorial tasks – such as accurately condensing existing copy into more basic language - that have built the foundations for more intricate projects. Most recently, Oğuzhan researched and updated our About HIV pages on gonorrhoea and interactions between HIV treatment and recreational drugs. Bakita has just written her first About HIV page from scratch, ably explaining the complexities of access to NHS care for migrants.

I have also been coaching two community journalists based in India, Shobha Shukla and Bobby Ramakant, on the approach we take to reporting research studies in our news articles. Most recently, we published their excellent reporting on the role community networks have played in maintaining access to antiretroviral therapy during India’s coronavirus lockdown. Paul Clift, an experienced HIV advocate in London, has been contributing to the meetings where we decide which research studies to cover and recently wrote his first news story for us.

Would you be interested in joining the programme? The current wave of recruitment to Emerging Voices closes on 14 June. If you are interested, please download and complete the application form and send it to info@nam.org.uk.