AHF World AIDS Day Twitter Event to End HIV Stigma
SATURDAY, December 1st 7 am – midnight
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) invites everyone to join the fight against HIV stigma this World AIDS Day by helping us fill the Twitter feed with real facts about HIV/AIDS, as well Tweets encouraging people to change their perspective of those living with HIV/AIDS and eliminate the unwarranted hatred or fear of brave people who live full lives despite of being HIV-positive.
AHF encourages everyone to be part of the conversation and become an activist by becoming a source of information for true facts on HIV/AIDS, like the fact that HIV cannot be transmitted through simple hugging and kissing. Since HIV stigma was born in part from fallacies and misconceptions, accurate information on the virus and those living with it is the most powerful tool everyone can wield against this discriminatory stigma.
“Social technology is teaching us to be human again, and it is this digital frontier that will help break the stigma around HIV,” said Azul DelGrasso, AHF’s New Media Manager.
HIV stigma has caused some despicable actions around the world recently. In Jodhpur, India, a family of six was literally run out of their neighborhood after a local non-government organization (NGO) revealed to neighbors that the mother and father in the family were both HIV-positive. The neighbors beat the mother so badly she had to be admitted to a local hospital, and the parents and four children were forced to live under a railroad platform for 20 days until another NGO helped to re-establish them in their neighborhood, this time with police protection.
A highly-publicized recent incident of HIV stigma here in the U.S. took place in Hershey, PA, where a 14-year-old boy was denied entry to the private Milton Hershey School simply because he is HIV-positive. After a long legal battle, the boy and his mother won a just settlement from the school and, more importantly, the school publicly reversed its discriminatory policy.
Spreading accurate information through AHF’s Twitter campaign is the easiest way to fight HIV stigma – in fact, all one has to do is click buttons at the bottom of the homepage for www.endhivstigma.org and Tweets will automatically be created – but another important and powerful way to combat the stigma is for people living with HIV to come out of the closet about their condition and show that people today live with HIV, and that there is nothing to fear from those who are positive for the virus as long as everyone is informed and making the easy, responsible efforts to prevent transmission, like using condoms and getting tested regularly.
“Integration and social interaction breed acceptance and, ultimately, comfort,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “The AIDS movement needs the voices of people living with HIV. If you or someone you love is HIV-positive, consider carefully the therapeutic benefits of being open about your status and how you can make a contribution to the battle against AIDS.”