Ready to Share: NAPWA Embraces New Media

Earlier this week, Michelle Samplin-Salgado and I gave a workshop on using new media in response to HIV/AIDS at the National Association of People with AIDS Exit Disclaimer (NAPWA) annual Skills Building Institute for HIV Testing and Awareness Day Events and Campaigns. The Institute is part of NAPWA’s “Mobilized to Succeed” initiative.

 NAPWA logo

It was an honor to be with NAPWA, and with our colleagues from POZ Magazine Exit Disclaimer, to learn alongside people who are living with HIV/AIDS and the organizations that advocate for them. There is no better voice in the response to AIDS than those who are living with HIV/AIDS themselves.

For me, our goal at is to embrace, when appropriate, the use of new media in response to HIV. NAPWA offered an amazing opportunity to explore the basics of new media, and Michelle and I shared our experiences using new media tools like blogs, wikis, and Twitter. Sally Cherry from The Black Educational AIDS Project Exit Disclaimer signed up for Twitter during the presentation and sent her first few tweets. From the looks of it, she’s off to a good start! Other participants (including a couple of people who have been living with AIDS for nearly 20 years) were eager to begin sharing their stories through blogging.

Ian Anderson, President of Smart + Strong Exit Disclaimer and Chief Operating Officer of POZ Magazine, co-facilitated the session with us. He brought a handful of Flip video cameras and we all explored making and uploading videos. Some of the videos were uploaded to YouTube during the presentation — check out the videos by Maurice Chapman Exit Disclaimer, director of the Austin Health Center in Cook County Exit Disclaimer (Chicago), IL,
and Brian Burton Exit Disclaimer, director of health promotions at the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center Exit Disclaimer.

It was exciting to see how quickly participants adopted the technologies during the training — using new media to embrace the values of NAPWA’s Denver Principles Exit Disclaimer, a manifesto of self-empowerment written in 1983 by a group of people living with AIDS. The Denver Principles “demanded that the voices of people living with HIV be heard. It asserted the right of people living with HIV to participate in the decision-making processes—at all levels—that would fundamentally affect their lives.”

What I love about new media is the way it parallels the Denver Principles. It involves peer-to-peer communication and networking, and asserts the importance of individual voices. New media, like the Denver Principles Project, uses the collective wisdom of the HIV/AIDS community to best respond to the epidemic.