More than Facing AIDS: Addressing HIV Stigma with Photo Sharing

Content From: Aisha Moore, Communications Associate, AIDS.govPublished: December 04, 20123 min read


Facing AIDS

For the past five years, has hosted the Facing AIDS photo sharing initiative for World AIDS Day, December 1. We thank you for the thousand of photos you have uploaded. If you have a large batch of photos you need help uploading, send an email to If you haven’t participated this year, it’s not too late to Write. Snap. Share. The goal of Facing AIDS is to reduce HIV-related stigma and promote HIV testing. At we advocate learning from our peers and listening to the social media conversation. As we conclude the fifth year of Facing AIDS, we have seen the many photo-sharing campaigns that address HIV stigma. Today we are highlighting some of those campaigns.

Let's Stop HIV Together
Let's Stop HIV Together

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Let's Stop HIV Together campaign uses social media and traditional advertising to give a “voice to people living with HIV from all walks of life, alongside their friends and family members.” The ads feature real people living with HIV, along with a loved one who supports them. Showing that people who are HIV-positive are also family members, friends, and partners helps to reduce stigma. The campaign uses video as a form of digital storytelling where participants share that being HIV-positive does not define who they are. You can see the ads in local communities and airports in six cities. They also house photos from community events on their Facebook pageExit Disclaimer. For World AIDS Day, they released a new Facebook appExit Disclaimer where you can create your own story.

Greater Than AIDS Deciding Moments
Greater than AIDS

Greater than AIDSExit Disclaimer is a multi-faceted collaboration of community, private and government partners. One segment of the campaign is the “Deciding Moments photo sharing campaign. It acknowledges that people from all walks of life make daily decisions that impact their risks for contracting HIV. To spread their message, the campaign hosts photo booths all over the United States at conferences and community events. They invite people to write a message and take a photo and share their “Deciding Moment.” These messages are shared with their 283,000 followers on FacebookExit Disclaimer. This year for World AIDS Day, the photos were repurposed into a billboard in Times Square, New York City.

A Day with HIV
A Day with HIV

On September 21, 2012, Positively Aware magazine asked people to submit a photo about living with HIV. “A Day with HIVExit Disclaimer campaign put together 44 of the 170 photos submitted to present a photo essay that “ tells the collective story of the trials and triumphs of living with HIV.” Each photo is time stamped with a short caption that talks about what is going in each person’s life that moment. The photos are presented on a website as a timeline to reinforce the diverse lives of those living with HIV and the hurdles they overcome .

These are just three of many examples. To get involved, you can join an existing campaign or you can use social media on your own to share how you are addressing HIV stigma. For a quick and easy way to lend a hand, participate in the Facing AIDS photosharing initiative or your digital camera. How are you using social media to address HIV stigma? Let us know in the comments.