Last year GMFA and FS | The Fact Site launched a video ‘HIV-positive guys reading mean dating app messages’ which sought to highlight some of the stigma faced by those living with HIV. The video had over 100,000 views in a week and received widespread press coverage.

>> WATCH THE NEW VIDEO >> 





GMFA and FS | The Fact Site caught up with some of the stars of that video – Sadiq, David, Adam and Ruaidhri – to film a mini-documentary to discuss how coming out as HIV-positive in such a public way impacted and changed their lives.

 “The reason why GMFA and FS| The Fact Site is continuing its battle against HIV stigma is because we see first hand the negative affect it has on HIV-negative gay and bisexual men, as well as those living with HIV,” says GMFA’s interim CEO, Ian Howley. “We have heard first hand accounts of men who are afraid to have sex, afraid to test, afraid to talk about HIV and even afraid to be friends with someone living with HIV. Fear causes ignorance and ignorance hurts our community in ways that cause us to turn on each other and shame each other. This is why we need to work towards ending HIV stigma.”

It’s why standing up to HIV stigma is so important. Not only have the men who feature in this video changed their lives for the better, the impact they have had on gay and bisexual men is immense. These men stood in front of a camera, talked about living with HIV and made a huge difference.”

Ian adds: “However, saying all that, looking at some of the comments left on the YouTube videos you can see we still have a long way to go. We need to stand up to the ignorance and shaming. Education is the key to eradication and if these men prove one thing, it’s the power of just being yourself can make a difference. There is nothing shameful about living with HIV and positive role models prove it. 

HIV is not going to be defeated if we become afraid of it and those who are living with it. We will defeat new HIV infections if we as a community stop shaming each other, come together and work towards supporting each other to stop stigmatising those living with HIV.”

“Since recording the ‘Mean Messages’ last year, many of the participants stayed in touch and remained engaged with GMFA,” explains Campaigns Manager Liam Murphy, “Some, like the stars of this new video, went on to continue to battle HIV stigma and become advocates and role models in the community. We decided that they needed celebrating, that their story is hugely important and that they could inspire other people living with HIV not to feel shame about their status. We also hope it will show HIV-negative people that there’s no barrier to life with HIV.”

You can watch the new video here >> https://youtu.be/sivP3PIEpIU

Watch last year’s video here >> https://youtu.be/AospP51bkcs

Visit out ‘Stop HIV Stigma’ campaign page here >> www.gmfa.org.uk/stophivstigma