We at GNP+ celebrate the diverse and inspiring voices supporting the #NormalizingHIVChallenge.
On 21 September, South African Nurse Clinician, Angela Motsusi coined the hashtag on Facebook:
“… because with normalizing HIV comes less stigma, with less stigma & discrimination comes more acceptance of one’s HIV status and more adherence to ARVs, with adherence comes sustained viral suppression, and with this comes ZERO NEW HIV INFECTIONS.”
Doreen Moraa Moracha, 28 years old, a social influencer from Kenya took the challenge to Twitter:
“I took up the #NormalizingHIVChallenge because HIV is a manageable health condition, and it’s time people saw there is normal life even after an HIV positive diagnosis. As I always say I am greater than HIV and everyone living with HIV is greater than the virus.”
Within days, her challenge gained followers worldwide – students, actors, bar workers, doctors, priests – Jane Shepherd, 61 years old, a graphic designer from the UK is one of them:
“The campaign brought home to me that people born with HIV have lived with the virus as long as long-term survivors. #NormalizingHIVChallenge shows what a diverse global community we are and how the call to remove stigma can really rally and unify us. It felt powerful and supportive, like a big virtual hug.”
We know how widespread stigma still is and that not everyone can be open about their HIV status, so we will work tirelessly to #endHIVstigma and in the meantime hope the #NormalizingHIVChallenge continues to trend.