Stigma Campaign 2018

The Martin Fisher Foundation are excited to be launching an HIV-stigma information campaign in July 2018.

The Foundation has been working with local film makers, animators, illustrators, designers, patients, clinicians, and researchers to create a thought provoking campaign which will convey accurate and consistent information to the general population of Brighton & Hove. By connecting through social media with no geographical boundaries, we want to reach a wider national and international audience.

We want to improve knowledge of recent advances in HIV and encourage people to think about how people with HIV might feel when they hear insensitive, inaccurate and tactless comments, and what we can ALL do to change the status quo.  The campaign has been developed with the help of a Public Health England HIV innovations grant.

What is HIV stigma? Why do we need an information campaign?

Stigma is defined as ‘a mark of disgrace’ or ‘feeling disapproved of by society’. HIV stigma is when people with HIV are made to feel they have something to be ashamed of. In 2018 this is completely unacceptable, and something we can ALL do something to change.

HIV has changed dramatically since the 1980s and 90s. Treatment is much easier to take, with few or no side effects. By taking as little as one pill once a day, people can and do lead normal healthy lives. And HIV treatment is now SO effective that if you are HIV positive and on the right tablets, you can’t pass on the virus, to anyone, even during sex!

How was the campaign developed?

Through a series of participatory workshops with people living with and without HIV, we’ve heard what the issues are in Brighton & Hove in 2018. Our campaign will draw on the experiences of people living with HIV (PLWH) to break down stereotypes and misconceptions, dispel common myths and show how stigma can adversely affect an individual. Our mantra ‘We Learn, We Think, We Change’ will emphasise how important it is for us all to have the correct information and spread the good news!  We want to shift the emphasis from whether individuals are ‘positive or negative’ or ‘dirty or clean’ to whether they are ‘TESTED or untested’. We have created a unique local team with a passion for innovation to deliver this project.

What can I do to help?

We all have a part to play – whether it’s learning the facts and talking openly about HIV, and setting people right when their knowledge is outdated – whether it’s testing regularly and encouraging others to test – whether it’s taking PrEP if you need it – whether it’s taking HIV medication every day to ensure your virus is supressed – whether it’s sharing the stigma campaign with all your contacts when it’s launched in July… whether it’s making sure that no-one living with HIV is made to feel ashamed.

We have a unique city with a unique opportunity to be world leaders in tackling stigma and ultimately eliminating HIV – so let’s get on with it!

We’re seeking social media influencers, celebrities and sponsors to join this beautiful campaign, so please help us spread the word! Please get in touch if you know of anyone who might be able to help, or if you would like to know more about the Martin Fisher Foundation or the 2018 Stigma Campaign!