Everyone has a HIV status. POSITIVE or NEGATIVE. We aim to remove the stigma attached to HIV by placing HIV in everyday situations
About the project
The "Equals = Equals" campaign is an anti-stigma project devised by Greg Owen. Greg regularly speaks at live events on this subject. He is an award winning writer who regularly has articles published on HIV, HIV education and the need for HIV re-education based on the new science and studies (some of which have just been release this year). He is a very active member of his community and has a close association with Pride in London. Not only is Greg a very visible and vocal presence within his community both online and in person. He has 15 years experience in marketing, experiential, face-to-face, above and below the line Media with a key focus on Social Media. When it comes to creating, pitching, expanding, budgeting, staffing and executing a campaign from start to finish - there are no better hands to be in than his.
The "Equals = Equals" campaign is the 1st stage activity of a 3 stage, long term project that you will find further information on below.
The "Equals = Equals" campaign
This campaign is primarily an anti-stigma campaign with an event day (days) tagged on 3-4 months after it's launch (or when it's exposure or visibility is best to tie in with a live events).
The branded "HIV+ or HIV- = EQUALS" T-shirt (that you can see in the main picture) forms the basis of the anti-stigma element of this activity.
"Here comes the science bit" - The fact that we now have the tools available to us to stop new HIV transmissions seems to be something that is not fully understood or embraced by people!
If people get tested regularly for HIV and get diagnosed early, start treatment and adhere to their treatment correctly and diligently they soon become 'undetectable' which means it is very difficult from them to pass the virus on - practically impossible.
Being undetectable and transmission rates - references from
FACTS - from http://www.tht.org.uk/our-charity/Media-centre/Blog/2014/June/HIV-treatment-and-transmission_c_-an-update
"We have known for some time that being on treatment with an undetectable viral load makes it extremely unlikely you will pass on HIV...
The PARTNER study is a large observational piece of research taking place in 14 European countries. It aims to understand the impact that treatment has on reducing the chances of HIV being passed on. The researchers have recruited serodiscordant couples (where one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative) in which the HIV positive partner is taking HIV treatment. Of particular interest is that all of the couples reported using condoms inconsistently, or not at all, and that approximately half of the participants are men who have sex with men.
Although the study is still ongoing, early analysis of data from almost 800 couples - who reported just under 45,000 acts of penetrative sex - found that there had been no transmissions from a partner with an undetectable viral load. This applies to both anal and vaginal sex.
It Starts With Me
In 2012, there were around 21,900 people living with undiagnosed HIV in the UK. As this group of people are not accessing treatment, alongside the significant risk to their own health, they are unknowingly a source for new transmissions. As many as eight out of 10 infections among gay men come from guys who are living with undiagnosed HIV.
Furthermore, research also shows that as many as half of all new transmissions occur soon after someone first contracts HIV. This is because recently acquired HIV produces an initial peak in viral load - making the person extremely infectious. Testing alone will not identify those with newly acquired HIV as most people don’t regularly test. Even if they did, the antibodies which many tests look for may not be produced in sufficient quantities to be detected for up to three months.
If we combine that with PREP...
FACTS from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/prevention/research/prep/
"Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. When taken consistently, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk by up to 92%."
IF WE USE THE TOOLS WE NOW HAVE BOTH TREATMENT AND PREVENTION - WE CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
WHY are we not doing this already? And HOW will the “Equals = Equals" campaign make a difference?
WHY? Gives "Equals = Equals" its key Campaign Objectives
Currently there are very prevalent and harsh stigmas within both the gay and straight communities attached to HIV. Anything HIV related, be that merely raising it as a topic of conversation, going to get a HIV test, being diagnoses as HIV positive, living with HIV, being the negative partner of a positive person. The list goes on. It is a problem for us all in the battle against HIV and more so for those individuals from ethnic backgrounds where not only is sexuality a taboo topic for discussion but where the mention of those 3 letters H. I. V. are totally off bounds. This ‘slut-shaming’ which is a phrase coined by and used within the gay community and the ‘unclean’ ‘deviant’ ‘perverted’ and ‘health risk’ connotations that immediately arise as prejudices and weapons for attack when opening a dialogue about HIV is, at it's core the biggest problem we need to tackle and make drastic, visible and palpable changes in. It is these stigma and those unfounded preconceptions eventually being attached to ones self that are the main stumbling blocks that prevent people testing regularly, seeking advice, information, education and in turn, support when they most need it.
So it is the primary objective of the “Equals = Equals" campaign to take the heat out of those three letters H. I. V. and shock people into being de-sensitised to HIV by placing those three letters - H.I.V. into everyday places and everyday situations which is where we arrive at the HOW?
The HOW section will now explain the Equals = Equals campaign mechanics.
HOW? Gives "Equals = Equals" it's campaign mechanics
The concept is simple. The concept is this.
To generate general and social media awareness and establish a quick presence I want the campaign to be spearheaded by a diverse cross section of recognisable faces and celebrities demonstrating through their own various social media pages HOW the campaign will work.
Step by step guide to campaign mechanics
- Click ‘Join’ on the "Equals = Equals" facebook page
- Message the “Equals = Equals" facebook page and request your FREE "Equals = Equals" T-shirt. Provide your required size and postal address.
- Receive your FREE equals=equals T-shirt in the post
- SELFIE and GROUPIE TIME - Wear your “Equals = Equals" T-shirt somewhere ‘normal/common place’ where you would not expect to think, see, hear or talk about HIV. Get your family involved too.
Here are some examples
- Doing your shopping with the kids at the supermarket (we do kids sizes too)
- Do you work in the city? Wear your "Equals = Equals" T-shirt at your desk, over your shirt and tie
- On a London bus! Why not get someone to 'pap' you at as many of London's iconic landmarks as you can? Now that would make for a good album!
- While swimming
- In bed
- Or get together with your friends and throw an “Equals = Equals" party! Customise your T-shirts and put on a fashion show!
WHEREever and WHENever! Be predictable or be wild. Be classic or be edgy!
Just get wearing and get SNAPPING & get SHARING! That’s the important bit! Once you have those amazing personalised photos get busy with them! Here’s how…
Post them to the "Equals = Equals" facebook page – tag your friends and get them to request their FREE T-shirt too.
Post them on your Twitter using the "Equals = Equals" # and @
Knowledge is power! But SHARING is even more powerful!
Thank you and have fun!