People living with HIV (PLHIV) are leading a new campaign from NSW’s leading HIV organisation ACON, which urges people to rethink HIV stigma, and calls for a greater focus on strengthening allyship through empowering messaging for the entire community to consider.
It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV seeks to highlight ways HIV stigma experienced by PLHIV can be addressed through embracing positive behavioural and attitudal change.
Led by PLHIV, the campaign features a video that centres personal stories of people living with HIV and the HIV negative allies in their lives. These stories provide a blueprint for community on how to support those in our lives who are living with HIV. The campaign acknowledges how changes in behaviour are fundamental to addressing HIV stigma.
“The first in a series of community engagements we will be having on this issue, It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV is ACON’s new campaign addressing HIV stigma, showcasing the very best of allyship between HIV-negative people and people living with HIV,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.
“The campaign will add to efforts being made towards changing how we all see HIV, and how stigma can be overcome and resolved through positive framing. Instead of demonstrating the harms of HIV stigma, this evocative campaign shows how to best support people living with HIV with uplifting messages that bridge the serodivide.”
Karl Johnson, Manager of ACON’s Gay Men’s Sexual Health Programs, said at the heart of the campaign is a call to action that has universal appeal and is useful to the entire community.
“How do you make an HIV stigma campaign that speaks to the lived experience of HIV? Put people living with HIV at the centre of the work,” Johnson said.
“We are extremely proud of the way PLHIV shaped and informed this campaign every step of the way. Centring our community and utilising our experiences to create a tangible and relatable message that encourages both positive and negative people to rethink HIV stigma is not only essential, it’s best practice.”
To shift responsibility away from PLHIV who have in the past shouldered the burden of tackling HIV stigma, the campaign video focuses on the experiences of both PLHIV and HIV-negative people in an effort to rebalance this responsibility.
Anthony, one of the participants in the campaign video, said: “People living with HIV have essentially been tasked with fighting stigma themselves, by educating the wider community as well as protecting their peers by adhering to treatments. We are one community and it’s time we shared the responsibility and work together to eliminate stigma: a significant barrier to ending HIV.”
The new campaign is aligned with the new NSW HIV strategy 2021-2025 which calls on ending HIV stigma in aid of supporting PLHIV and preventing transmission.
“The strategy’s inclusion of people living with HIV as essential to the development of HIV prevention measures is critical to our collective goals of eliminating transmission,” Parkhill added.
“This campaign is not just a call to action for our communities but for health and community sectors both in NSW and around the country. Let’s keep ending HIV stigma in focus by reframing the conversation through a positive lens and heighten the energy and visibility of efforts to address harmful stigma.
“We would like to thank everyone involved in the planning, development and production of this important and game-changing campaign. It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV addresses one of the most pressing issues in the fight against HIV today, and once again positions NSW on the front-foot in responding to key challenges in reducing HIV transmission,” Parkhill said.
It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV campaign has been funded by Gilead.
To view the videos, go here.
For more information on the It’s Time to Think Positive About HIV campaign, go here.
David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
E: [email protected] T: (02) 9206 2044 M: 0428 477 042