Every year on December 1st, we commemorate World AIDS Day by honoring the organizations, initiatives, and advocates who continue to educate, empower, and raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in meaningful ways.
An estimated 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of this population, nearly 1 in 8 (12.8 percent) is not aware of the infection. Worldwide, UNAIDS reports that over 36 million people are living with HIV.
While great strides have been made in research and treatment, educating the public about the infection and decreasing the stigma of living with HIV remain a priority. Each of these honorees in our 4th annual HIV influencers honors offers their voice to empower others.
Join us in recognizing these inspirational leaders in HIV advocacy and community building.
Rise Up To HIV by Kevin Maloney continues to lead the community conversation about HIV on social media with the “What’s Your Positive Message?” campaign. The purpose is to share 1-minute videos submitted from the community and spread the clips throughout social media to encourage, inspire, and empower others affected by HIV. Previously, Maloney created the No Shame About Being HIV+ campaign with international support and involvement.
“Together, with more than 1 million Americans, I’m living with HIV,” said Daniel Griffin at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It was the first time in 16 years that the DNC was addressed by an openly HIV-positive speaker. Griffin is the founder of “Undetectables Atlanta,” a group of over 400 gay/bisexual men with HIV, as well as THRIVENESS, a nonprofit organization serving the same population in Atlanta, Georgia.
Under the leadership of executive director Bruce Richman and numerous HIV activists, Prevention Access Campaign launched the social media campaign “Undetectable = Untransmittable” in 2016. Answering the fundamental question about risk of individuals living with HIV to their sexual partners, the message resonates across all social media platforms using the hashtags #UequalsU and #FactsnotFears. Prevention Access Campaign collaborates with nonprofits, government agencies, and HIV prevention advocates who share the common goal of ending HIV transmission and HIV-related stigma.
The SAN Francisco AIDS Foundation, with a budget of more than $32 million, is an innovative global leader in HIV advocacy, prevention, and community support services. Under newly appointed CEO Joe Hollendoner, the SFAF believes that “San Francisco can be the first U.S. city to end the HIV epidemic.” That is precisely the driving force behind their “Growing to Zero” initiative, which has the ambitious goal of reducing new HIV diagnoses to fewer than 100 per year. Among many programs, SFAF co-produces the annual AIDS/LifeCycle, which raised over $16.1 million in 2016.
AIDS United, an organization dedicated to ending the AIDS epidemic in the United States, focuses on grant making, training, and support for approximately 90 organizations benefiting those living with HIV. AIDS United also invests in more than 300 organizations through “subgranting partnerships.” Each year AIDS United co-presents AIDSWatch, the largest annual constituent-based national HIV/AIDS event which garners meetings and opportunities for advocates to educate Members of Congress on important HIV-related issues.
In 2016, Quest Diagnostics announced their “10 City National AIDS Walks Sponsorship Tour” supporting local HIV and AIDS service organizations. It also raises awareness about the importance of screening for HIV. The innovative sponsorship initiative included on-site influencer/celebrity involvement, including: Lea Delaria, Chris Kluwe, Mondo Guerra, Sue Zemanick, Adam Kwarasey, Emily Menges, Brooke Hogan, Maysa, and Jason Hisle. The tour was coordinated by GroundSwell Group with sponsorships in San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Kansas City, Baltimore, Buffalo, New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Tampa.
Greater Than AIDS and #endHIV launched “HIV Beats,” a high-energy music video series designed to educate about the latest in HIV treatment and prevention. It features celebrity social media influencers including: Todrick Hall, Bob the Drag Queen, Davey Wavey, Amber’s Closet, and more. “HIV Beats” was presented as part of a unique collaboration with YouTube, helping garner views of the campaign’s innovative videos.
POZIAM Radio, with co-hosts Robert Breining and Aaron Laxton, is a live-to-air podcast sharing positive stories of those living with HIV and AIDS. POZIAM Radio episodes include memorable interviews with known HIV advocates like Peter Staley and Jack Mackenroth, as well as community influencers focusing on HIV criminalization, campaigns, and local HIV organizations. The podcast airs live on Sundays at 2pm EST.
The Well Project delivers a unique perspective on the HIV/AIDS pandemic by focusing on women and girls. Founded in 2002, The Well Project’s award-winning web portal now attracts more than 1.3 million unique visitors each year. The website offers resources that help women and girls share their experiences living with HIV, and it was a recipient of 2016’s Healthline Best of HIV/AIDS Blogs.
The Human Rights Campaign offers comprehensive community resources and blog articles for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals. As the face of the organization’s HIV/AIDS resources, Noël Gordon serves as the Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity and has led the renewed focus of the HRC on HIV and AIDS issues. In 2016, HRC Foundation launched a fellowship training program for leaders in the HIV community in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation: HIV 360°.
TheBody.com is an award-winning website and resource for the HIV/AIDS community offering news, commentary, lifestyle articles, and personal essays from those living with HIV. In 2016, editorial director Myles Helfand launched Living Well With HIV, an in-depth series that explores how those living with HIV can maximize their health and happiness.
AIDS.gov has lead the communications efforts for the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy over the last two years. Their recent efforts include launching Positive Spin, an online storytelling project, and amplifying AIDS.gov Virtual Office Hours, an online initiative for community-based organizations and stakeholders to learn about effective social media tools.
Amy Lansky, Ph.D., was appointed by President Obama on May 16, 2016 as director of the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), the White House office responsible for setting national HIV policy and coordinating HIV prevention. ONAP leads the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the roadmap for federal and state agencies with measurable goals to decrease new HIV infections nationally and increase those living with HIV who are receiving medical care.
A staple in the HIV community since its start in 1994, POZ.com’s online community forum allows users to share personal stories, read commentary about important issues, receive answers to HIV-related medical questions, and participate in discussions about the community.
PrEP Locator, presented by Emory University in partnership with M•A•C AIDS Fund, is a national directory of providers of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the United States. This map-based widget serves as a “common repository for information regarding providers and clinics that prescribe PrEP.”
PositiveLite.com continues to be a leading voice in HIV news, commentary, and lifestyle information in Canada. And for the fourth year, we name them as the top Canadian HIV resource. Founder Brian Finch launched the website in 2009 to provide a personal and holistic message about getting on with life. Positive Lite continues to offer new writers living with HIV an opportunity to gain experience and exposure within the “Revolving Door” guest post section of their digital publication.
This year, we’re introducing an additional honor that recognizes 10 outstanding individuals who are working online to empower, educate, and advocate for those living with HIV. These social media activists are sharing their messages of hope and resilience in powerful ways through digital and social media platforms. We congratulate the following #HIVhonors social media health advocates:
Healthline is proud to recognize the many people and groups working to help raise awareness for the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.