January 23, 2013
This is a campaign inspired by Chelsea Clinton raising awareness by holding a simple sign for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. My vision for this campaign is to mobilize people in places across the United States and the World willing to stand up to Stigma and Rise Up To HIV, all in an effort of realizing the UN Goals of getting to ZERO. The biggest barrier I believe to realizing these goals is STIGMA.
We hear this word thrown around A LOT, but do we all know what it is? AIDS-related stigma and discrimination refers to prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV and AIDS. The consequences of stigma and discrimination are wide-ranging: being shunned by family, peers and the wider community, poor treatment in healthcare and education settings, an erosion of rights, psychological damage and a negative effect on the success of HIV testing and treatment. (Ref: Avert.org -- read more.)
On Facebook: simply tag RiseUpToHIV with your photo and a sentence or two about yourself, or a bio if you have one. Visit the event page to see who else is participating, and you may visit the facebook album of folks who have already submitted a photo.
On Twitter: You can tweet an image and sentence to @RiseUpToHIV.
If you are good with Photoshop or any other editing software you may submit a photo of yourself with the words "No Shame About Being HIV Positive."
As stated, the purpose of this campaign is to play a role in the overall HIV/AIDS community in an effort to reduce stigma by mobilizing people and engaging them in communities across the world to Rise Up To HIV by proclaiming there is NO Shame About Being HIV Positive! How will this be accomplished? Through the power of social media, and through an army of caring and compassionate individuals, either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS who choose to take part in this campaign. ASO involvement in this campaign is strongly encouraged.
For as long as stigma exists, and I am alive, and the Web still exists, this campaign will carry on, evolve, grow and hopefully do some good in the process, and in the end you will have helped make this campaign the success I know it will be! The sign campaign is the first phase of a three-phase approach. Details to be forthcoming in the coming weeks/months.
To get people talking about HIV/AIDS again -- in schools, at the dinner table, in the car, on the radio, on TV and all throughout social media and with foot soldiers on the ground. We need all hands on deck if we are going to finally realize the end of this epidemic. This campaign will identify and mobilize individuals making a difference in their communities. It's been known that when you are engaged in your own care, you'll engage others, which will in turn create healthier communities.
This is not the first anti-stigma campaign, and certainly won't be the last. I have seen some amazing campaigns doing good things in communities across the country and across the Web since finding out my diagnosis nearly three years ago. In my opinion, not enough awareness and education campaigns can exist to tackle this issue.
You matter, your life matters and you are filled with purpose! You are no less of a person because you have HIV, and if treated and you stay on treatment, you can live a very normal and productive life (like many you see in the photos in this campaign). You can still dream big, and live out those dreams (your dreams are not infected). Don't let HIV take away your power, instead become empowered and Rise Up To HIV.
It's what I did; it's what's gotten me through. There is no greater feeling or power then to be able to stand up to your fears, to not be kidnapped by your illness, to be amongst people who understand, to be knowledgeable or gain greater understanding of something you may have thought you had no control over, but you do. Rise up to HIV and help end the stigma!
I am also seeking stories of people in the world who are facing stigma. Where in the world are you and what stigma/discrimination are you facing? Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org -- stories will not be published, unless you want it to be and want the world to know.
Thank you for your participation in this campaign.
Supported by Community Access National Network, a National 501c3 that has been dedicated to improving access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C since 1996.
Media Contact: Kevin Maloney, 202-290-2019.