More than Facing AIDS: Addressing HIV Stigma with Photo Sharing


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Facing AIDSFor the past five years, has hosted the Facing AIDS photo sharing initiative for World AIDS Day, December 1. We thank you for the thousand of photos you have uploaded. If you have a large batch of photos you need help uploading, send an email to If you haven’t participated this year, it’s not too late to Write. Snap. Share.

The goal of Facing AIDS is to reduce HIV-related stigma and promote HIV testing. At we advocate learning from our peers and listening to the social media conversation. As we conclude the fifth year of Facing AIDS, we have seen the many photo-sharing campaigns that address HIV stigma. Today we are highlighting some of those campaigns.

Let’s Stop HIV Together

Let's Stop HIV TogetherThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Let’s Stop HIV TogetherExit Disclaimer campaign uses social media and traditional advertising to give a “voice to people living with HIV from all walks of life, alongside their friends and family members.” The ads feature real people living with HIV, along with a loved one who supports them. Showing that people who are HIV-positive are also family members, friends, and partners helps to reduce stigma. The campaign uses video as a form of digital storytelling where participants share that being HIV-positive does not define who they are. You can see the ads in local communities and airports in six cities. They also house photos from community events on their Facebook page Exit Disclaimer. For World AIDS Day, they released a new Facebook app Exit Disclaimer where you can create your own story.

Greater Than AIDS Deciding Moments

Greater than AIDS

Greater than AIDS Exit Disclaimer is a multi-faceted collaboration of community, private and government partners. One segment of the campaign is the “Deciding MomentsExit Disclaimer photo sharing campaign. It acknowledges that people from all walks of life make daily decisions that impact their risks for contracting HIV. To spread their message, the campaign hosts photo booths all over the United States at conferences and community events. They invite people to write a message and take a photo and share their “Deciding Moment.” These messages are shared with their 283,000 followers on Facebook Exit Disclaimer. This year for World AIDS Day, the photos were repurposed into a billboard in Times Square, New York City.

A Day with HIV

A Day with HIVOn September 21, 2012, Positively Aware magazine asked people to submit a photo about living with HIV. “A Day with HIVExit Disclaimer campaign put together 44 of the 170 photos submitted to present a photo essay that “ tells the collective story of the trials and triumphs of living with HIV.” Each photo is time stamped with a short caption that talks about what is going in each person’s life that moment. The photos are presented on a website as a timeline to reinforce the diverse lives of those living with HIV and the hurdles they overcome .

These are just three of many examples. To get involved, you can join an existing campaign or you can use social media on your own to share how you are addressing HIV stigma. For a quick and easy way to lend a hand, participate in the Facing AIDS photosharing initiative. Take a photo and write a message using our app Exit Disclaimer or your digital camera. How are you using social media to address HIV stigma? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Colorado creates COMPASSION

    HIV Stigma is based on fear, shame and judgment. It lives in Colorado and affects more than just the daily lives of the 11,582 people living with HIV.

    Stigma is the main driver of the AIDS Epidemic and eliminating it requires new approaches.
    In Colorado, for World AIDS Day and through the month of December, people living with HIV and community based organizations are coming together to try a different tactic. COMPASSION: Ending the Stigma Campaign is a statewide response to HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

    The COMPASSION campaign was launched with two goals: to foster open and honest discussions around HIV stigma; and to launch the first statewide on-line anonymous stigma survey. We know that HIV stigma and often its resulting discrimination can be a barrier to determining HIV risk, testing and accessing care. We must first understand the stigmatizing beliefs: fear of infection, social judgment, internal stigma, institutional stigma, perceived stigma or discrimination that our community holds via our survey. The survey is available in both English and Spanish and it the first statewide stigma survey launched by community based organizations and people living with HIV.

    This survey builds on a global effort to develop measures of HIV stigma and discrimination, led by Dr. Anne Stangl of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) with support from UNAIDS. The survey measures the key aspects of stigma that can be shifted through stigma-reduction programs. Data collected from the discussions and the survey will be shared with all interested organizations and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as we shape a statewide response for the reduction of HIV stigma and discrimination.

    To share our literature statewide, the COMPASSION website, is where advocates can download our anti-stigma talking points, scientific research or personal stories of stigma and its effects. COMPASSION campaing is also on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter #EndingtheStigma, generating excitement and engagement through new media.

    Check out the COMPASSION: Ending the Stigma campaign and see how a small, dedicated group can remove the stigma that stands in the way of HIV prevention, care and treatment services, one state at a time.

  2. We started a website about the adoption of children with HIV/AIDS in an effort to erase stigma and spread truth to help kids in need of families!

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