Five years of newspaper coverage of HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe is examined. Both the number of items and the amount of space devoted to the topics has increased steadily over the 5 years. The nature and content of the items show a continuing bias towards issues more closely associated with western patterns of the epidemic, and comparative neglect of personal stories, local issues and items with a counselling focus. Language is also examined and found to reflect a victim and war imagery. The implications for health education in the country are considered and specific recommendations for more constructive media coverage are made.