Last week for World AIDS Day (December 1) we were honored to join colleagues and friends around the world in Facing AIDS. Over 1,300 photos were uploaded to Flickr , saying why you were Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day.
As we said when we kicked off Facing AIDS, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to make our voices heard. Together we can reduce HIV-related stigma and increase HIV testing and access to care. This is the third year we’ve hosted the Facing AIDS initiative, and this year we tried some new things and saw some new developments compared to 2009 and 2008.
This year we used Twitter and Facebook to share one of your Facing AIDS messages every weekday in November — and the response was extremely positive. In response to the Facing AIDS photo “I am 71…Facing AIDS with dignity and courage! ” one Facebook fan wrote, “Your Courage gives me strength…my sister is in the last stages of AIDS and I’m having a hard time coping…so thank you for them deep words…DIGNITY & COURAGE!”
We turned again to community groups for leadership and inspiration. This year we asked our colleagues from the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (who have hosted a Facing AIDS event for the last two years) to help us put together a video about hosting a Facing AIDS event .
We were again humbled by your dedication and creativity. Community participation ranged from local public health departments such as Kern Public Health , to research projects such as the IMPACT Program , to service providers and nonprofits such as the National Council of La Raza Institute for Hispanic Health , the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center , the HIV/AIDS Resource Center , Baltimore World AIDS Day , the U.C.S.F Center of Excellence for Transgender Health , Good Samaritan Project , and many, many more. A number of our Federal colleagues such as SAMHSA, CDC , CDCNPIN , and Disability.gov added photos to the Flickr group and/or shared blog posts, among their many efforts to recognize the day.
This year many of you shared messages about making the vision of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) real, and encouraged people to share the NHAS as part of their World AIDS Day activities. Check out this video to see some of the things people had to say about why they are supporting the NHAS. Speaking of videos, stay tuned for our Facing AIDS compilation video where we will be highlighting more of your Facing AIDS photos!
This World AIDS Day, we collaborated with old and new partners such as The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria to promote Facing AIDS (check out their own Facing AIDS photos !) and share HIV testing information. Through partnerships, individuals, and online communities, you helped us reach thousands of people with information about World AIDS Day and HIV testing. We are truly humbled to see how Facing AIDS has become a part of the many, many activities that happened worldwide this year to mark World AIDS Day.
On behalf of the entire AIDS.gov team, THANK YOU, for your support on World AIDS Day, and always. We will continue to Face AIDS with you every day – to end HIV related stigma, promote testing, and make the vision of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy real. As one participant wrote, ”Knowledge is power…Facing AIDS can save your life .”