On December 1 2014, Healthline held a Google+ Hangout presented by Josh Robbins in celebration of World AIDS Day. Josh became known around the HIV community when he posted a video of himself at the doctor’s appointment where he first learned he was HIV positive. He has since become a notable and influential HIV activist.  In the December 1 hangout, Josh interviewed two long-term, HIV-positive advocates, Maria Meija and Alex Garner, and discussed the current state of activism compared to activism nearly 30 years ago.

1. Take Action

Maria Meija explains that activism comes in all forms. What matters most is just that you take action.  Whether you’re a blogger, a motivational speaker, or you work for a non-profit, everyone has an opportunity to make a difference. Every voice counts and every action matters. Don’t be afraid to get involved and contribute to the cause in whatever way you can.

2. Humanize the Condition

Why can’t I say I have HIV just like others say they have cancer, and there's no judgement with that? I want to change that.
Maria Meija

Whether or not it’s evident in our daily lives, there are still stigmas attached to HIV. Through education we can humanize the condition and work to remove that stigma. In the past, HIV diagnoses were often kept quiet because of the controversy that surrounded the condition. That does not need to be true today. By opening up the conversation around HIV, we can educate young people and in turn help with prevention. We can no longer let silence lead to ignorance. It’s our responsibility to educate and get educated.

3. Share the Responsibility

We all need to work together to end HIV. This is not the concern of just one group of people. If we all assume that someone else will solve the problem, then the problem won’t be solved. We have the knowledge and the power to join together and stand up against this condition. And the responsibility doesn’t just fall to those who are HIV positive. Working towards living in a world free from HIV will require an effort from all of us.

Watch Highlights from the Hangout