Miami: ‘God Loves HIV+ Me’ Billboard Fights Stigma

In News by AHF

AIDS group continues to take HIV stigma head-on with billboard campaign featuring HIV-positive individuals in T-shirts reading ‘HIV+’ across the front. Photos are bracketed by the simple text ‘God Loves’ and ‘Me’ on each side, making these HIV-positive individuals the headline and focus of the campaign.
The anti HIV stigma ads, which have been running in Baton Rouge, Jackson, MS, Los Angeles, Washington DC and other locations in South Florida as a billboard and transit shelter ad campaign, raise the bar as it expands with this new double billboard in a highly visible spot alongside Route I-95 in Miami.

FT. LAUDERDALE (September 18, 2014) On a busy interstate highway in Miami, a new double billboard created by AIDS Healthcare Foundation is taking HIV stigma head-on. The two nearly identical side-by-side billboards, headlined, ‘God Loves HIV+ Me,’ each feature HIV-positive individuals in bright red T-shirts reading ‘HIV+’ across the front. The photos of the subjects—Hydeia Broadbent, an HIV/AIDS activist who has been HIV-positive since her birth 30 years ago, and Stone, another HIV/AIDS advocate, are bracketed by the text ‘God Loves”’ and ‘Me’ on each side, making these HIV-positive individuals part of the billboard headline in powerful, stigma-shattering imagery. A third billboard running in other locations features Jimmy Ramsey, another HIV-positive advocate.

“This series of billboards aims to fight HIV stigma as well as to provide a beacon of emotional light for those living with HIV who hold deep spiritual beliefs,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The simple images feature one person – in these new Miami boards, Hydeia Broadbent on one version, and AHF advocate Stone on the other – wearing a red T-shirt that unabashedly identifies them as HIV-positive. Each stands between headline text which makes the billboard read ‘God Loves HIV+ Me’. These messages can offer a reminder of the comfort of faith to a newly diagnosed person in the United States as well as help those who may not be able to readily see the breadth of God’s love understand that no one – especially those living with health conditions – are excluded from it. However they speak to each individual, these powerful messages are sure to inspire thought-provoking dialogue about faith and HIV.”

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. In Miami-Dade County, the estimate is about one in every 100 Miami residents, Nationwide, 16% of the 1.1 million infected, or about 176,000 individuals, do not know their HIV status or have never been tested, and only one-quarter of those infected actually have their virus suppressed.

AHF hopes its ‘God Loves HIV+ Me’ anti-stigma campaign will help break down barriers by encouraging that who see the campaign—including this new double billboard alongside Route I-95, three-tenths of a mile north of I-395 in Miami—to rethink prejudices against those living with the virus and that it may also encourage people to get tested, and if needed, get linked into lifesaving care and treatment.

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