September 5, 2012
Chris Richey and Scott McPherson
On Sunday, August 26, the founders of The Stigma Project, Chris Richey and Scott McPherson, spoke with the POZ I AM Radio hosts. The Stigma Project is an up and coming grassroots organization that aims to lower the HIV infection rate and neutralize the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS through education and awareness via social media and advertising. The Stigma Project seeks to create an HIV neutral world, free of judgement and fear by working with both positive and negative individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race or background. Social media has rapidly become one of today's largest mediums of news, culture and education. They hope to embrace that with effective campaigns each season that bring awareness to the current state of HIV.
"HIV Neutral" is a state of mind, regardless of your status, in which you are informed and aware of the constantly evolving state of HIV/AIDS. Living a "neutral" lifestyle is being a visible advocate in the fight to end HIV and the stigma that strengthens it. It is putting emphasis on the humanity of all people and not casting judgement because of their status, positive or negative. It is standing up, speaking out and educating others.
Simply put, it is being able to make informed decisions about your social and sexual health. Because HIV is now classified as a chronic manageable condition, treatment is now focused on people living full and healthy lives. To truly live "HIV Neutral," we must begin shifting toward a new way of thinking about HIV/AIDS. Moving away from thoughts full of death and sadness and towards thoughts of life and hope for the future.