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Making Private Testimony Public and the Impact on Social Media With HIV Activism

December 12, 2017

When Justin's HIV Journal was on display at the Brooklyn Museum there was a discussion panel afterward on activism. It allowed me to see activists from early in the HIV epidemic and present-day activists. The one commonality that we all had was the camera. We documented our lives and other people's lives who were affected or infected with HIV. It amazed me how far activism has come, but it also amazes me at what is coming next from the next generation. Sometimes, I wonder, will the generation after me understand what we've done to help in the fight against HIV? I know that the generation before me probably thought the same thing. Well, I say to them, I was there, I listened, and I'm here now continuing your work -- the work that laid the groundwork for others like me to be able to do what we do. I thank you all on this World AIDS Day.

Justin B. Terry-Smith on the Impact of Technology and Social Media With Activism

Excerpt: "As far as me growing up and going to college, I kind of left it by the wayside but I always really had a passion for journalism in the media and so being a writer today really did help me to be able to be open about what I have. To be open about who I am. But I will say that I have two sons they are 20 and 18. And I will say that I LOVE social media. It does allow them to be open and to explore and explain their feelings to the outside world. It does allow us to be able to say, 'here's an important cause. Here's an avenue for you to feel passionate about, go explore that.'"

Justin B. Terry-Smith on Making Private Testimony Public

Excerpt: "Giving a testimony of what was going on with me was able to manifest itself and have other people say, 'well this is happening with me too.' Having people comment and send me emails about that made me want to do more and more. And it broadened my horizons, like my husband and I are adopting this kid and another kid. I'm still doing this and thinking of what it means to be positive. And a lot of people from the older generations would say, 'well, we never thought that would even be a possibility.'"

[Note from This article was originally published by Justin B. Terry-Smith on Dec. 10, 2017. We have cross-posted it with his permission.]

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Justin's HIV Journal

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)

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