Working Together to Face AIDS: How YOU Took Action for World AIDS Day

Content From: Josie Halpern-Finnerty, Project Coordinator, AIDS.govPublished: December 08, 20093 min read


Co-authored by Jennie Anderson and Michelle Samplin-SalgadoA month ago, we asked you a question: If a picture says a thousand words, how much would a picture of you holding a sign that says you’re “Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day” say? Could it help end stigma? Promote HIV testing?

Your responses overwhelmed and inspired us—over 800 of you shared your faces and wordsExit Disclaimer in recognition of World AIDS Day, December 1. You downloaded the Facing AIDS sign (PDF 157 KB), told us why you are Facing AIDS, took a photo, and added it to the Flickr group. Many of you changed your profile pictures on FacebookExit Disclaimer or MySpaceExit Disclaimer and shared HIV testing information. You showed us how powerful new media tools such as photo sharing sites, social networks, blogs, and texting can be for communicating important health information.

Students at Boston UniversityExit Disclaimer and Alabama A&M UniversityExit Disclaimer organized events in observance of World AIDS Day and made the Facing AIDS campaign part of their activities. Boston University student Anna Graves told us “The response was very positive. Students chimed in on their personal reasons for facing AIDS, and filled out signs expressing individuality in taking a stand. Sign after sign began to line the glass windows of the central hallway, attracting people to come read them one by one.”

Organizations like the DC CenterExit Disclaimer , the American Public Health AssociationExit Disclaimer , the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness CenterExit Disclaimer , the Black Educational AIDS ProjectExit Disclaimer , and SaddleBack ChurchExit Disclaimer added their photos. Avatars in the virtual world of Second LifeExit Disclaimer faced AIDS as part of World AIDS Day observances, and so did many, many other groups and individuals. Your photos were so powerful that Flickr featured them on their blogExit Disclaimer !

Flickr wasn’t the only blog that took action for World AIDS Day—over 350 bloggers signed up to write about HIV on December 1 as part of Bloggers Unite for World AIDS DayExit Disclaimer . The National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the Bloggers Unite organizers, wrote a post for teens about the link between HIV and drugs. Community Voice Mail (CVM) bloggedExit Disclaimer about the importance of getting HIV testing resources and other information to people who are homeless. Offline, we worked with CVM to share voice mail messages about World AIDS Day and HIV testing with their over 40,000 clients who are phoneless or in transition.

The White House also blogged in honor of World AIDS Day. Federal officials gathered at the White House to share some important recent steps we’ve taken as a country and around the world to face AIDS, and announced that Washington, D.C. will be the site of the International AIDS Conference in 2012.

Many people worked together to face AIDS for World AIDS Day this year, and re-committed to doing so year-round. In fact, so many of you were sharing resources and information on Twitter that World AIDS Day was a top trending topicExit Disclaimer on December 1! Your words and dedication inspire us. We’ve turned some of your photos into a video and we encourage you to share it widely. As you said on your signs: “We are Facing AIDS to reduce stigma, to remember those we’ve lost, ensure care for those we love, and to stop the spread of HIV.” We are honored to Face AIDS together with you.

Did you face AIDS in some way for World AIDS Day? We’d love to hear what prompted you to take action, and how can we keep the momentum going year-round. And if you haven’t added your photo to the Facing AIDS groupExit Disclaimer , it’s not too late to do so!