The challenges of covering of HIV and AIDS are varied and complex. Journalists need to understand the sometimes difficult science behind, for example, vaccine and microbicide trials, in order to report them well. They need to sell stories to their editors, who may be reticent to run them, in sometimes well-founded fear that they are not what their readers are after, and sales may drop. The Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted a dialogue in February 2007 for editors, scientists and other stakeholders to discuss the issues the media face in covering HIV/AIDS.
The dialogue was characterised by openness and a common desire to improve coverage of the disease and its impact on South Africa. The proceedings were captured in a booklet entitled, Engaging Editors, Notes from a Dialogue on Reporting a Pandemic.