Editor’s note: For more information on photo sharing sites and how they are being used in the HIV community, please visit our new media toolkit.
Three years ago, we here at Positively Aware magazine launched A Day with HIV , our anti-stigma photo campaign. With more than 50,000 new HIV infections each year in the U.S. alone, we understood that the stigma often associated with HIV was preventing people from getting tested, starting treatment, or discussing their status with loved ones and potential partners.
What is the A Day with HIV campaign?
Now in its fourth year, the idea behind A Day with HIV remains the same. On September 21 people everywhere, both HIV positive and negative, take a picture to show what it means to live in a world with HIV—because positive or negative, HIV affects us all. Take a photo that says something about you or expresses a feeling you want to share, and then write a caption to go with it. Last year nearly 200 participants from 12 countries submitted photos on our website or via email. This year people everywhere will again share their stories, regardless of their status, and coming together on one day, Saturday, September 21— A Day with HIV. We invite you to join us, and help take a stand against stigma.
What do people share?
From the beginning, we found that it’s the captions that make these images so incredibly powerful and moving. William is only one of several past participants who have decided to use A Day with HIV to “come out” for the first time about their HIV status. Seen smiling and flashing a victory sign, William says, “This picture was my way out of the closet. I decided that after hiding my HIV status for 20 years it was time to show my friends and family the true me…I am free!”
I am reminded of young David*, who was born prematurely and HIV-positive. He was separated from his three negative siblings because the adoptive family didn’t want him. David, who has a new adoptive dad, is pictured wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word “hero” and sporting a huge smile. His dad tells us that David’s viral load is now undetectable and “he has the spirit of an angel.”
Cynthia, a phone counselor who helps people in crisis and connects them to support services says, “I am HIV-negative, and believe in fighting the disease, promoting prevention, and supporting those affected…I want to help!
These are just a few of the hundreds of inspiring stories that people have shared over the last few years while taking part in A Day with HIV.
How can people participate?
We hope that this year you or your organization will consider participating on Saturday, September 21 by taking a picture. Submit your photo by September 25 along with a caption, your name, location, and time of day. Email it with a signed consent form to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can submit it on the website , where you can also download the consent form, view photos from last year, and get tips on how to take a good picture.
All of the photos submitted will be posted on the A Day with HIV website, and select images will appear in Positively Aware magazine; four will be chosen by a panel of judges for different covers of the November/December issue. Share the campaign with friends, family and co-workers by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram , Twitter and Tumblr with the hashtag #adaywithhiv.
*Participants sign a release form that allows Test Positive Aware Network to share this information.