It's World AIDS Day! We're fighting for a world without stigma

1 December 2017

It's #WorldAIDSDay! We're remembering those we have lost and fighting for a world without stigma
Jose and Jose from our Emerging Communities group

It's #WorldAIDSDay! We're remembering those we have lost and fighting for a world without stigma.

We made a video to raise awareness of the support we provide for Latin American and eastern European people living with HIV in London.

Our Emerging Communities programme delivers HIV prevention and support work in Spanish, Romanian, Polish and Portuguese. We run regular workshops in four languages, visit clubs, bars, shops and community centres to raise awareness of HIV, and have a social meetup once a month for gay and bisexual men from migrant communities.

In our workshops, we talk about sex, families, friendships and dating, body image, risk-taking behaviours, self esteem, drugs, alcohol and sexual health, and how migrant communities can sometimes experience these issues differently.

Through these workshops, we deliver prevention and support work that is culturally specific in the languages that people know best.

This is the first in a series of videos we’ll be releasing to tackle HIV stigma, in which people from our Emerging Communities programme talk about what it’s like living with HIV in 2017. Thanks to M∙A∙C AIDS Fund for funding this project. Dr Greg Ussher, our CEO, says:

"From our work with young people living with HIV, we know that HIV-related stigma is still very common. This can make young people very fearful of disclosing their status, which in turn can affect their life chances and also be disempowering and challenging when forming relationships.”

Ignorance continues to fuel stigma

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to remember those we have lost, support those living with HIV and continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. Dr Greg Ussher, our CEO, says:

“At the heart of the stigma surrounding HIV is ignorance - when people don't have accurate and up-to-date information about the virus, myths and misunderstandings continue to fuel stigma. Access to information is vital, both here in the UK and across the world.

"We need to continue to innovate and respond to changing ways of communicating to reach people and raise awareness around HIV, blast the myths and misunderstandings and provide clear and up-to-date information about the virus - especially around transmission. We need to make sure that information is accessible and relevant to young people living with HIV and support people considering disclosing their status by sharing positive, but also realistic experiences of others.”

New drama series will talk about disclosure

METRO also has a grant from Comic Relief and M∙A∙C AIDS Fund to fund to make an interactive drama for young people about HIV disclosure.

Dr Greg Ussher, our CEO, says:

“I am delighted to share, on today of all days, that Comic Relief and M∙A∙C AIDS Fund are funding METRO to support young people living with HIV to tackle stigma. We have worked with young people for 33 years, and always learn and grow as a charity when we listen.

”The funding METRO has from Comic Relief and M∙A∙C AIDS Fund will help us to create an interactive drama around HIV disclosure, targeted at and developed by young people. The storyline will follow an individual as they proceed through friendships, dating and relationships, allowing the viewer to make choices along the way. The interactive drama series will tackle both awareness of HIV management and how to discuss and disclose in public and private settings. The video sequences will be supported with information and sign-posting to support services.”