A Victorian campaign to reduce stigma for HIV-positive people has piqued international interest after its launch in Washington D.C.

The ENUF campaign is a project by People Living with HIV/AIDS Victoria (PLWHA), combating stigma by sharing experiences of discrimination.

The campaign was first launched on JOY 94.9 FM in July but PLWHA executive officer Brent Allen showcased the project at last month’s International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.

The campaign has already garnered strong statements on its website.

“…I told my work colleague that I was HIV positive and she said ‘with your lifestyle, you probably deserved it,’” read one statement.

“Telling my mum was very hard, I cried but all mum wanted to know was that I was ok,” read another.

“The campaign has been received well in Washington, but the real test will be when stories come in and although we will accept all stories from anywhere, we are after the experiences in the Victorian and Australian context,” Allen told the Star Observer.

“We are thrilled that other countries have expressed an interest in running their own ENUF campaigns and we are committed to helping them get these campaigns off the ground by open sourcing all aspects of the design and distribution.”

Allen said the campaign would rely entirely on community contributions from positive and negative people.

“The campaign is ‘crowd sourced’ and the real life stories make the campaign a powerful weapon in the arsenal against HIV stigma and discrimination,” he said.

The sixth and latest HIV Futures report found over 55 percent of participants were afraid to tell potential partners their HIV status in case they were rejected.

The 2009 research surveyed more than 1100 HIV-positive people in Australia.

Victorian AIDS Council executive director Matt Dixon said efforts to tackle stigma would make it easier for people to discuss their HIV status.

“Apart from supporting everybody’s right to participate in their community fully and freely, successfully tackling HIV stigma lessens a barrier to HIV testing and makes it easier for people with HIV to talk about it to friends, family and sex partners,” he said.

PLWHA will be promoting the initiative in Melbourne at World AIDS Day and the Midsumma festival. The campaign is calling out for more stories, so send them to [email protected]

INFO: www.enuf.org.au

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