Professor Cindy Patton, Canada Research Chair in Community, Culture, and Health at Simon Fraser University, delivers a Situating Science Lives of Evidence talk titled “The Press and the Press Release: Inventing the Crystal Meth-HIV Connection” on Monday, February 3rd from 4:00-5:30 pm in Buchanan A201.
What does the rise and fall of a scientific fact look like? In her analysis of the Crystal Meth-AIDS superbug connection in US media coverage, Dr. Patton explores scientific evidence as it circulates through the lab, the media, and society. Scientific studies, expertise, and anecdotal human-interest stories are used to “prove” a causal relationship between the (probably temporary) rise in crystal use and a (less than clear) rise in HIV rates. But far from helping to avoid hasty and ill-conceived policy in a moment of panic, the media coverage justifies something more problematic: discrimination and medical policing that appear to rest on scientific proof.