Janssen Therapeutics, a Division of Janssen Products, announced September 8, the launch of Your Story, Your HIV Wisdom, a campaign which encourages people living with or affected by HIV to share insights, perspectives and inspiration at ShareHIVWisdom.com.
The poz community is a great source of information; reportedly 80 percent of those living with HIV say they give advice or tell others where to find HIV-related information. Hoping to leverage that wisdom — and the empowering act of sharing one’s stories — to alter the impact HIV has on individuals and the community as a whole, Janssen launched Your Story, Your HIV Wisdom.
“Managing HIV requires more than medicine,” says Nefertiti Greene, president, Janssen Therapeutics. “It requires information and support, both from healthcare professionals and from others affected by the disease.”
Janssen Therapeutics is the maker of the HIV antiretroviral medication Prezcobix (a combination of darunavir and cobicistat).
The Your Story, Your HIV Wisdom website offers a place for those affected by HIV to access and share information, find support, and fund national HIV advocacy efforts.
“By sharing insights, perspectives and encouragement at ShareHIVWisdom.com in the form of words, pictures, audio or video, participants have an opportunity to make a difference for others affected by HIV," Janssen said via a press release.
For each person who makes a submission, the pharmaceutical company has pledged to make what Janssen’s own press materials refers to as an “incremental” donation to one of two HIV organization. Participants can decide whether the money goes to AIDS United or the Black AIDS Institute. AIDS United focuses on community-driven responses aimed at reaching at-risk populations, while the mission of the Black AIDS Institute is to end the AIDS pandemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals to confront HIV. All told, Janssen will donate up to $10,000 per organization.
HIV activists Guy Anthony (one of our 15 Advocates to Watch in 2015), Maria Mejia (one of Plus' 20 Amazing HIV-Positive Women of 2015) and Josh Robbins (who helmed our HIV Plus Video Minute series) are serving as advisors to the campaign and will help Janssen select which submissions will be highlighted on the website.
Saying they received powerful insights from someone else at key moments in their own HIV journeys, the three have learning firsthand the power of sharing information, and they are now dedicated to passing wisdom on to others.
Author and HIV blogger Guy Anthony encourages people to be open with their healthcare providers, urging others to be “transparent and honest” with their doctors.
“Without being fully aware of your sexual history, eating habits or housing status, your healthcare provider simply cannot provide you with comprehensive HIV-related care,” Anthony argues.
Diagnosed with HIV as a teenager, Anthony has served as a member of Atlanta’s Community Advisory Board, contributes to POZ magazine, co-created the web series MR (named in honor of black gay rights activist and filmmaker, Marlon Riggs), and wrote the book Pos(+)tively Beautiful: A Book of Affirmations, Advocacy & Advice.
Maria Mejia has been HIV-positive for 26 years and is a powerful advocate for HIV education, treatment, testing, and prevention, with a strong presence in traditional and social media.
“I am one of the faces of HIV,” Mejia says. “No more shame, no more stigma! We are just human beings that happen to have the condition of HIV. It's that simple.”
A Red Cross volunteer and HIV educator for Jackson Memorial Hospital, and a Global Ambassador for The Well Project (for women with HIV), Mejia lives with her wife, in Miami, Florida. She co-authored the memoir, From a Warrior’s Passion and Pain.
“Since being diagnosed, I’ve read and heard wisdom from thousands of people on the same journey as me,” reports Josh Robbins, founder of imstilljosh.com. “My piece of wisdom is simple — start talking. And make that talk encouraging to others.”
Robbins, who hosts HIV Video Minute, a weekly digital series examining notable stories in under 60 seconds, is also a global adviser for dotHIV, a global correspondent for MTV Voices, and a video correspondent for Plus magazine. Named to the POZ 100 in 2013, Robbins owns a digital marketing social media company in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Janssen has long been committed to providing resources for people living with HIV,” Greene reiterated. “We created Your Story, Your HIV Wisdom to support the community and provide a place to showcase the insights and experiences of people living with or affected by this difficult disease.”