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2021's Amazing People Living with HIV: Activist Aan Rianto

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Aan S. Rianto is a 51-year-old gay man and activist in Indonesia who has been living with HIV since 2015. He is the founder of Jaringan Equals Indonesia (Equals_id on Facebook) — the only community partner working with the Prevention Access Campaign to continuously promote the concept of U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable) in Indonesia. Rianto is utilizing the power of social media to help spread this messaging safely in his homeland.

He says one of his proudest accomplishments of 2021 is “being able to talk about stigma and discrimination and other issues faced by PLWHIV in Indonesia globally through many virtual forums.”

Rianto also says he is excited to “continue educating and advocating for the U=U movement in Indonesia, pushing [COVID-19] vaccines for PLWHIV, and transitioning to newer [treatment] regimens by empowering my peer community with the latest updated information, so everyone knows their rights to live equally, just as other people without HIV.”

“I think it is very important to be able to voice what the community needs,” adds Rianto, “and what it is like being in a marginalized community, what it is like to be stigmatized and discriminated [against], especially when it comes human rights and being treated with humanity, and not based on HIV status, gender diversity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.”

The fearless activist also plans on continuing to spread the message of U=U and eradicating stigma in Indonesia and around the globe: “The U=U movement is a great tool to break through stigma and social judgments — everyone living with HIV can now live just like others without HIV, by not able to transmit HIV to others sexually.”

Rianto also believes in the idea that, despite our different statuses, we are all “HIV equal.”

“At the end of the day, HIV is just a medical status that everyone has — positive, negative, or ‘don’t know.’ HIV doesn’t have to define who we are. We are all human beings with every right to be respected, because no one is safe from HIV transmission unless everyone knows their status.”

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