Interview of Tom Kujawski
So far in our “I Know. I Took The Test” blog series, we’ve shared compelling HIV testing videos from the Southern AIDS Living Quilt and POZ . Today I’m excited to highlight a different kind of initiative — This is My Story — that shows the power of the written word. The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) , founder and community lead for National HIV Testing Day (NHTD), developed the initiative. I spoke with NAPWA’s Tom Kujawski to learn more:
- What inspired NAPWA to start This is My Story?
Our constituents are true champions in reducing oft-encountered HIV stigma. We are people living with HIV…we are everywhere…and represent all creeds, colors, and cultures. By using the power of narrative, we hope our stories will encourage people to TAKE THE TEST AND TAKE CONTROL. For people who are unsure of their status, we hope they will educate themselves about local area HIV testing resources and counseling.
- How and why is NAPWA using new media to share those stories?
We need new and novel ways to get people thinking about sexual health, risk reduction and how they personally can reduce HIV stigma. The more provocative information we present through the broadest channels, the greater our likelihood of sharing our personal experiences that shape how we act. Please visit our website and join us on Facebook , MySpace , and Twitter .
- What have been a few of the most powerful results and/or lessons learned for the HIV community so far?
The response we’ve had to our This is My Story campaign has been amazing. People identify with the brave partners who shared their stories. It really helps connect us with our members and supporters. This is My Story has been a really great vehicle for us to have a discussion on the scope of our programs and work. So many of our members and supporters want to contribute their personal dialogue into our fabric of experience.
- Where would you like to see the project go next?
We would love to incorporate multimedia. I think having individuals post their stories directly on the NAPWA website would be amazing [as opposed to interviewing people ourselves and writing up the stories]! We are currently exploring how best to go about designing this. If there are any individuals with expertise in this area, please contact us.
Thanks Tom and the NAPWA team! Check out our NHTD story widget to see story videos and add it to your site! Looking for your local HIV testing center? Send a text message with your ZIP code to “KNOWIT” (566948) or visit www.hivtest.org .
NAPWA has collected some great content that is currently being gathered and presented in traditional ways. How can we use new media tools and technologies to make it more effective, powerful and influential? Send us your specific suggestions in the comments. Have you been tested for HIV and want to share what it meant to you? We welcome your comments in the comments section below.
Check back on Thursday to find out what story initiative we’re talking about next!