Mainstream magazines and other media have been found to both reflect and influence existing values and beliefs regarding health and medicine. Little is known about how media directed toward specific cultural or other market groups may differ. The present study examined how HIV and AIDS are portrayed within a specific ethnocultural medium, the two highest circulating magazines directed toward African American and African Canadian readers. The portrayal of HIV/AIDS from January 1997 to October 2001 in Ebony and Essence magazines was examined through manifest and latent content analysis. African American people were described paradoxically both as powerless victims in the face of the disease and as members of a strong and identifiable community of "sisters" and "brothers" available to respond to prevent and cope with the disease. Polarization between Blacks and Whites was accomplished by frequent emphasis on the higher rates of HIV/AIDS amongst Black Americans. Both the church and spirituality were highlighted as means of prevention education and coping.