This article, written by Emma Betuel and published in Inverse, an American online magazine focused on technology, science, and culture, puts a new clinical study on treating perinatal HIV in context. This study was published in a highly reputable journal, Science Translational Medicine. It observed the immediate and longitudinal benefits of admitting combinatorial antiretroviral therapy (ART) to infants from HIV-infected mothers within hours of birth. The article provides background on the gravity of HIV as a disease and how it can be transmitted from mother to child. It highlights the main points of the article accurately, in that there are longitudinal benefits seen from early intervention therapies and that the research was conducted within an infant population in Botswana, where rates of perinatal HIV are much more common than in the United States. The news article considers another case of success with early intervention in treating perinatal HIV, and even mentions that not all of them work, concluding that while this research article shows promise, the article did not identify any cure.
Even though the content of the article is neutral, the author’s title is definitely clickbait. It reads as though there has been a cure found already with this study. The subtitle even says, “we already have the tools we need to save thousands of kids”. When you put a large number, a life-threatening virus, and the potential to save children in an article title, you will definitely pique the curiosity of many. While the research study is important in showing the potential of doing further research into early ART, no such cure was found, and the author even admits this.
Although the title was clickbait, the content in the news article was relevant, sourced, and researched well. As well, all the links and sources were clear and the author’s contact information and previous articles were easy to find from the article. It was also nice that Betuel added the abstract of the original research study at the end of the article. The original research article is also open access and was clearly linked in the research article, so one can easily access the paper if they want to read more in-depth on the study results.
Thus, while the title was clickbait, I found that the actual content of the article was neutral, transparent, and well-sourced. Thus, I give this a 5 out of 5.
The Inverse article discusses the study published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine that explores early treatment of perinatal HIV. The study looked into the effects of administrating antiretroviral therapy to newborns with mothers infected with HIV within hours or days of birth rather than weeks. Betuel provides the necessary context for the virus, the many ways in which it can be transmitted from mother to child, and statistics surrounding the virus. Furthermore, the article discusses past early intervention cases, where one was successful and one that was not.
Although, the author is able to capture the original journal eloquently, ensuring that the article is representative of it, all the while providing multiple independent sources from other research studies in a way that is unbiased and professional, the title contains a curiosity gap. The original journal does not discover any specific cure for HIV in the offspring of HIV patients yet stating that babies with HIV “could live beyond their first birthday” provokes readers into thinking that a cure has been discovered.
Other than the poor title, the article is insightful, unbiased, and presented in a clean and concise manner with relevant visual aids. Moreover, the author’s social media, biography, as well as other articles written by her are readily available to readers.
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