April 4, 2011
The Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy (IL ASAP), a project of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), has launched a year-long anti-stigma t-shirt campaign to confront the stigma and silence associated with HIV.
On March 26, 2010, the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland promoted a day-long campaign, selling t-shirts originally designed by South Africa's Treatment Action Group (TAG) to over 400 people in the Cleveland area and across the country, even 30 in Bangladesh! See Positively Aware September/October "Status Symbols" to read more.
The campaign invites participants -- both HIV-positive and HIV-negative -- to purchase and wear a t-shirt embossed with the label "HIV POSITIVE" and then to upload pictures, video, and details of their experience on the campaign's Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/tshirtcampaign.
"HIV/AIDS-related stigma is one of the primary barriers to curbing the spread of HIV," said AFC President and CEO David Ernesto Munar. "People are afraid to get tested, know their status and seek treatment for fear of what might happen if others find out they are HIV-positive."
The campaign was inspired by IL ASAP member Arick Buckles who saw the effects of stigma firsthand in his work as a community outreach worker. "My job is to connect with people who are HIV-positive, but have neglected to start treatment," Buckles explained. "I was touched by the fact that these people were so affected by stigma that they would choose to be sick, debilitated, or die rather than interact with HIV service providers and somehow have their HIV status revealed to their community. It's insane, and I knew I had to do something about it."
T-shirts are $12 each or two for $20 and may be purchased at www.aidschicago.org/ilasap. Proceeds will go to the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy, a network of AIDS advocates from across the state who are leading the fight against the epidemic.
Learn more about the HIV Anti-Stigma T-shirt Campaign at www.aidschicago.org/advocacy-home/il-asap.