That HIV photo on Science


I understand why this cover has received a lot of criticism. People are suggesting that it’s objectifying transgender women, and sexualising the problem.

I’m somewhat removed from this – it’s obviously not my field of research, and I don’t fall in the demographic being discussed.

But I think it’s a poignant photo. It’s relevant. As scientific researchers, we work in laboratories, in offices. We’re removed from the on-the-ground problems. We’re not the ones who actually have to go into communities to implement the solutions that are being worked on in the lab.

The reality is that the people shown in this photo are actually the people that our research is ultimately targeting. These are the people on the ground that scientists are trying to help.

I think that sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture and not take offense at every little thing. Science magazine hasn’t actually done anything wrong here in my opinion. It’s humanizing our research – and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.



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