A BRAND new series of videos that aims to break down the stigma surrounding HIV has just been released by HIV Foundation Queensland.
In the series, which was made in conjunction with MediaCom and directed by Mikey Trotter, looks at the human side of HIV with interviews with a range of people affected by it.
Trotter spent the last month interviewing some incredible people. People living with HIV either because they have it, or because someone they love does. In the video, they bare their hearts and souls, out of which have come three powerful films each dealing with a different theme: reducing the stigma around HIV, encouraging and supporting more HIV testing and encouraging prevention.
At the height of the AIDS epidemic of the 80s, there was one simple safety message: wear a condom. Back then, HIV was never part of the conversation – it was all about AIDS.
But three decades later, times have changed and while there have been incredible developments with medication and healthcare, especially in the past year or so, we still have a long way to go in the battle with HIV.
Many of today’s HIV problems are social. People living with HIV still face a constant battle with stigma, narrow mindedness and HIV phobia.
In terms of stigma, the videos’ producers have said the lack of correct information understood by some men who have sex with men (MSM) and general narrow mindedness often gets in the way of conversations about using protection. This ignorance and assumptions about who is at risk and what living with HIV is all about are explored and combatted in the video series.
The series also shines a light on occurrences of rejection – from society, family, friends and work colleagues – and how this affects people living with HIV.
The notions of disclosure and consequence are also broached in the video series, with personal stories from interviews at what it was like to disclose their HIV status and how something so intimate can be tough. It also looks at their experiences of living with HIV, and how it is lifelong, time-consuming, costly and also takes its toll on you emotionally and physically.
With each story told, the HIV Foundation of Queensland hope to make younger generations who did not experience the AIDS epidemic of the 80s to understand that HIV is real, while also informing them of the necessity to test regularly understand all the options of prevention and how one can and can’t be at risk.
The videos are real stories told be brave people, emitting empathy and sensitivity, providing hope and positivity. Most importantly, however, they tell the truth about living with HIV in Australia in 2014.
Watch the videos below: