Combatting stigma is vital. Stigma causes harm, not just to those who are living with diagnosed HIV but to our whole community, by obstructing our HIV-prevention efforts.

When we become unable to talk about HIV, we are unable to have those important health related discussions that can prevent transmission.

Just because someone is living with HIV, it doesn’t mean they are doomed, it doesn’t mean they are ‘unclean’, and it doesn’t mean they are predatory or dangerous.

If we are going to be successful in reducing the number of new infections, we need to do all the things that stigma hampers: testing, talking, honesty and openness. 

If you hear people talking about people living with HIV as if they have lost their right to a fulfilling, happy love-life, challenge it. When you hear people gossip about people who are living with HIV, challenge them. When people talk about HIV as if it were a matter of personal hygiene, or a moral judgement, remind them that HIV is just a virus. 

Stigma doesn’t just hurt people living with HIV, it harms all of us.

We spoke to some of the models at the photo shoot for the 'HIV Stripped Bare' issue of FS to talk about the stigma they have faced in regard to their HIV status. Click to watch:

Photography by Chris Jepson: @chrisjepson | Venue: G-A-Y at Heaven nightclub 





Photography by Chris Jepson: @chrisjepson | Venue: G-A-Y at Heaven nightclub

The models were part of FS magazine's 'HIV Stripped Bare' issue, which strips back the myths about HIV, challenges the stigma men living with HIV face and says that men with HIV can be sexy too.