HIV Influencers Honors
World AIDS Day
December 1 is World AIDS Day. It’s a time to recap the disease’s history and to celebrate the progress we’ve made in treatment and education. It’s also the day we present the HIV Influencers Honors of 2013.
Winners include 19 dedicated people and organizations that tirelessly spread awareness and fight stigma by educating the public about HIV and AIDS.
Best New HIV Awareness Campaign: HIV Equal
HIV Equal seeks to remove the stigma of HIV, promote HIV testing, and bridge the gap between HIV-positive and HIV-negative people.
The campaign was founded by HIV activist Jack Mackenroth and celebrity photographer Thomas Evans. Dr. Gary Blick oversees the testing arm of the campaign.
HIV Equal invites all types of people to be photographed, promoting the idea that there is a common thread between all of us.
Best On-Going HIV Awareness Campaign: No Shame About Being HIV Positive
Founded by Kevin Maloney, Rise Up to HIV is a campaign giving support to those living with HIV. The No Shame About Being HIV Positive Facebook page contains HIV-related news stories and nearly 500 HIV-positive personal stories.
No Shame about Being HIV Positive continues to build a community of people who can connect, share, and support one another.
Best Viral HIV Awareness Campaign: DotHIV.org
Top Level Domains (TLDs), such as “.com” and “.org” are getting some company. Creators of DotHIV.org established “.hiv” as the first TLD devoted solely to serving a single social cause. The effort is getting a lot of attention, especially from leading HIV organizations.
Commercial and non-profit organizations that create sites with a .hiv domain generate a small donation to help fight HIV with every visit.
Best Long-Term HIV Survivor Voice: Mark S. King
Mark S. King was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. Since then, he’s been a leading activist for gay-related causes and an entertaining and informative voice on issues such as HIV awareness and gay rights.
King’s website, My Fabulous Disease, includes written and video blogs that are touching and often very funny. He’s also regularly featured in publications and websites such as POZ and the Huffington Post.
Best HIV Influencer in Government: Alex Garner, National Minority AIDS Council
Alex Garner is a program coordinator with the National Minority AIDS Council. He works tirelessly to ensure more HIV vaccine and treatment research.
Garner shares important medical news with people of color and other groups affected by HIV. He also helps develop leaders in these communities.
Garner has a long history of fighting for gay causes and educating others about HIV.
Best Use of an HIV Hashtag: Stigma Action Network
The Stigma Action Network (SAN) created the hashtag #stigmawarrior to help end HIV discrimination. The campaign uses social media to connect people affected by HIV and support efforts to end the stigma of living with HIV.
Members called #StigmaWarriors share ideas about how to fight discrimination. They also share news and personal stories. SAN believes that less discrimination will lead to more HIV testing.
Best HIV Community Building: A Day with HIV
A Day with HIV tells through photographs the stories of people affected by HIV. On Sept. 21, people in the HIV community were photographed at work, at play, and just living their lives. The goal is to lessen the stigma surrounding HIV by sharing these personal moments.
This campaign is sponsored by Positively Aware, the journal of the Test Positive Aware Network. Positively Aware will feature photos from A Day with HIV on future covers and in a photo book.
Best Canadian-Focused HIV Website: PositiveLite.com
PositiveLite.com is a top website that covers health, lifestyle, entertainment, and news for people in Canada affected by HIV.
HIV activist and comedian Brian Finch created the site as a place for people to express themselves and learn more about living with HIV. PositiveLite.com makes you think, feel, and laugh. It’s edited by journalist and HIV activist Bob Leahy.
Best HIV Community Forum: Poz.com
Since 1994, poz.com has been a popular forum for people affected by HIV to share news, personal stories, and opinions. POZ has won awards for its website and print magazine.
The site contains a blog, a personals section, and other ways for people to connect.
The POZ community forums provide opportunities for people to ask questions and get answers any time of day or night.
Best HIV Internet Radio Show: POZ I AM
POZ I AM is an upbeat online radio show launched by Robert Breining in 2008, a year after he created the POZ I AM social network. Breining hosts the weekly show along with co-host Aaron Laxton.
POZ I AM features news related to HIV/AIDS and interviews with guests who share positive stories of living with HIV.
You can hear the live show every Sunday night or listen to the archives at Blog Talk Radio. Listeners are invited to call in with questions and comments.
Best HIV Government Website: AIDS.gov
AIDS.gov provides information on policies, health news, guidelines for testing, what’s new in treatment, and other subjects of interest to those affected by HIV.
AIDS.gov empowers visitors and provides the social media tools to educate others about HIV issues. The site is user friendly, updated daily, and contains many links to government resources related to AIDS and HIV.
Best HIV Email Marketing Campaign: Until There’s a Cure
Until There's a Cure sells 11 different styles of bracelets to raise money for HIV/AIDS-related care and services. This campaign has been raising money and awareness since 1993.
Weekly emails remind people about the bracelets and other products. The emails also include information and news about HIV/AIDS. It’s one of the best uses of email marketing aimed at members of the HIV community.
Best HIV “Hero”: The Berlin Patient, Timothy Brown
The news broke in 2010 that German researchers had used an experimental stem cell transplant to seemingly cure a patient of HIV. That patient, Timothy Brown, became a symbol of hope for a cure.
Brown was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1995. In 2006, he developed leukemia. He stopped taking his HIV medications and underwent a stem cell procedure. In 2010, Brown tested as HIV negative. His story and the potential for stem cell cures continue to inspire.
Best Female Voice on HIV: Maria Mejia
Maria Mejia provides a powerful voice to the community of HIV-positive women and everyone affected by HIV. Her story starts when she learned that she was HIV positive as a teenager in 1991. At the time, she feared her life was over. But Mejia became an activist for HIV causes. She is now a motivational speaker who inspires courage in others. She also blogs on a wide range of topics on The Body.
Best Use of Graphic Design in Building HIV Awareness: The Stigma Project
The Stigma Project uses social media to help create an “HIV-neutral” world. Founders Chris Richey and Scott McPherson seek to reduce shame and fear surrounding HIV. They also hope it will lead to a lower rate of HIV infection.
The Stigma Project uses eye-catching graphic design to deliver its marketing campaign. The messages focus on educating the public about living with HIV and the importance of testing.
Best HIV Website for 15- to 24-Year-Olds: MTV Staying Alive Campaign
MTV’s Staying Alive Campaign encourages young people to honestly discuss HIV and open the dialogue for safe sex practices. Staying Alive runs HIV-related programming across all MTV channels, and the Staying Alive Foundation supports programs for safe sex and HIV testing around the world.
Staying Alive’s website provides news and fascinating stories, which is a nice complement to its sister site, MTVvoices.com.
Best HIV Website for 25-Year-Olds and Up: The Body
TheBody.com is an award-winning website led by a stellar team: executive editor Olivia Ford; site director Becky Allen; editorial project manager Mathew Rodriguez; research editor Warren Tong; and editorial director Myles Helfand.
TheBody.com calls itself “the complete HIV/AIDS resource,” and strives to break down patient-doctor barriers and provide the latest news in HIV prevention, care and community. It also aims to find ways to improve the quality of life for HIV-positive people.
The website was named “Best Healthcare Consumer Media Brand” at the 2013 Medical Marketing and Media (MM&M) Awards. TheBody.com’s sister site for health professionals is TheBodyPRO.com.
Best HIV Healthline Contributors Author: Harold Ray "Scottie” Scott
Harold Ray "Scottie” Scott tested positive for HIV more than 20 years ago. During that time, he has worked as an educator and activist on behalf of HIV-related issues. He also shares a personal perspective on these issues in his columns for Healthline.
Scottie has published 19 touching and thought-provoking posts about HIV. World AIDS Day has special meaning for him, too. It was on this day in 1994 when Scottie stepped forward as HIV positive.
Best Newbie HIV Awareness Blog: Poz+ Life of Patrick
Patrick Ingram may be new to the blogging scene, but he has quickly emerged as an important voice on HIV health and social justice issues. After he was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2011, the 22-year-old noticed few young people speaking out on social issues in the LGBTQ community.
Through Poz+ Life of Patrick and other activities, Ingram has dedicated his life to raising awareness of HIV and related issues. Check him out on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. One of his videos has more than 155,000 views!
Kudos to Our Award Winners
More than 1 million Americans have been infected with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Nearly one out of every five of those people may not know they’re HIV positive.
That’s why educating the public and erasing the stigma of HIV is so important. Healthline is proud to recognize the many people and groups working to help raise awareness of HIV testing and treatment.
- CDC - HIV in the United States - Statistics Overview - Statistics Center - HIV/AIDS . (2013, November 7). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 24, 2013, from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/basics/ataglance.html