Stigma affects all of us, regardless of age, gender, race, or HIV status. To make its point, A Day with HIV wants people to take a picture on the same day—Friday, Sept. 21—and share their story with the hashtag #adaywithhiv.
The campaign is produced by Positively Aware, an HIV treatment magazine produced by TPAN, a Chicago community-based non-profit AIDS service organization.
Through the campaign’s website (adaywithhiv.com), participants can also upload their picture and a caption mentioning the time and location of their photo and what inspired them to take their picture. The result will be an online gallery that gradually builds with each new photo submission. In addition, a selection of gallery images will be featured in the November/December issue of Positively Aware, four of which will grace different versions of the magazine’s cover.
“Stigma can discourage someone from getting tested to find out their HIV status, or it can prevent someone living with HIV from going on treatment,” says Rick Guasco, creator of the campaign, and art director of Positively Aware. “Either way, stigma can isolate and scare people. A Day with HIV is intended to bring people together to change that.”
“Seeing the photos of these different people is appealing,” Guasco adds, “but what makes A Day with HIV compelling is the power of the stories behind those pictures.”
Begun in 2010, A Day with HIV takes place every September, symbolically around the autumnal equinox to signal a time of change.
Photos from A Day with HIV 2017 (arranged chronologically from top left clockwise):
Shyronn Jones—3:00 PM: Atlanta, Georgia: “Homework time for my kindergartener.”
Anthony Adero Olweny—3:00 PM: Seattle, Washington: “Another day after work. Being a peer navigator living with HIV, living with HIV is almost like a day-to-day testimony that HIV treatment works. I talk with my clients, and give them love or hope while supporting them to navigate ever complex life issues such as mental health, affordable healthcare, HIV criminalization, and ART adherence.”
David Durán—6:00 PM: Doha, Qatar: “37: 8 1/2 years HIV-positive, 8 years undetectable, and 5 years since I made a life change, quit my job, and began traveling full-time as a freelance writer. I’ve now been to more than 70 countries and all seven continents, and nothing, including my HIV status, is going to slow me down.”
Alessandro Pino, Andre Ampudia, Matthew Phelps, Andres Sosa, Yoel Moreno, Nicholas Ferrera, Alejandro Suarez of Latinos Salud—6:00 PM: Miami, Florida: “HIV doesn’t discriminate; good thing pizza doesn’t either!”
Lillibeth GonzaLez—6:31 PM: Brooklyn, New York: “Diagnosed 25 years ago. Out and about in Brooklyn, enjoying the wonderful weather. Informing people about preventative measures: PrEP, PEP, antiretrovirals, staying undetectable, and healthy with HIV. I'm unstoppable. Undetectable for 10 years.”