Our Project

A few words from Junior…

After endless long nights, blood, sweat and tears we have finally been able to launch our project ‘DESTIGMATIZE’, a movement designed to help destigmatize HIV.

This project is not something I have ever regarded as a career focus or something to gain, my intentions lay solely on this cause and this cause only, it’s about educating people. From the first day we started on this project we have always said that the key to eradicating HIV stigma is through education and that is what we have aimed to do.

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Taken from our original GoFundMe campaign
We wanted to do things a little differently to other already well known, well established charities and projects as this particular cause focuses on HIV stigma, not solely HIV as a medical condition. Even though we aim to educate those who aren’t educated about HIV through HIV education, we’re more than aware that HIV negative people may not be so interested to simply seek out this information and when they do, you will find that a lot of information about HIV which already exists may lack in personality and is surrounded by complicated jargon and medical terms that not many people can understand. We want to change that. We don’t want throw a load of medical terminology at you and expect you to take it all in. Yes you will find in some of our educational pages that we have no choice but to use words you have probably never heard of before but an explanation will follow and we hope you will be able to take in as much as possible.

We want to make things easier! We want to simplify HIV and we want to make it easy for both HIV positive and negative people to understand. Trying to understand HIV from the inside out can be at times fairly complex and complicated so we want to change that and outline what a lot of people don’t know about living with HIV in 2016. It’s a much different virus than what it was in the 1980’s, we’re here to bring people up to scratch.

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Promoting DESTIGMATIZE w/Gaydio October 2016
We want to add personality! We’ve been reaching out to those in different communities either HIV positive or negative who have in some way been affected by HIV stigma. We talk to them, we ask them what experiences and challenges they have been through and we also turn to them for advice on behalf of the newly diagnosed in hopes that it will help those who are new to the virus and are struggling coming to terms with their new medical condition.  We can’t speak on behalf of everybody, so it’s important to get all angles, opinions, advice and guidance from different types of people with different backgrounds in different social circles. We thought this was a very important feature because everybody’s story is different and we want our readers, especially the newly diagnosed to find something that they can relate to. To a lot of HIV positive people, stigma may not be a huge deal or detriment to them, however, there are many people out there that simply do not have those survival skills and need someone to turn to, for advice, support and reassurance.

For me it started when I was speaking out against stigma through social media and I would educate myself and learn more and more about HIV every day, although I wasn’t completed uneducated it, I had many older friends living with HIV when I was a teenager and they gave me a fairly good idea of what it was like to live with HIV. I’d hear horror stories from so many people living with HIV and the stigma they face, the rejection they face, exclusion in the workplace and judgement from friends and family.

Heard of PrEP? We’re here to help with that too. If you’re interested in starting PrEP, we have a page dedicated to PrEP and we want to make sure you’re making the right decision before purchasing the highly controversial drug. We’ve outlined all the risks that come with it and have included information taken from several studies around the world leaving you to make your own informed decision. We do not supply PrEP but we have implemented a PrEP buying wizard in to our website which will take you to our recommended, genuine and well established suppliers. Whether you’re from the UK or anywhere else in the world, we have a supplier for you!

Thank you to all donators and volunteers who helped make this what was once an idea, a reality. I want to thank the AXM Foundation, Penny Crayon, Gaydio, That’s Pride, Rylan Cavell and anybody else who helped promote this project and believing in this cause.

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AXM Foundation – Pitch To Enrich September 2016
I’d like to send a special thank you to Max England, he’s done a great job with our graphics and it didn’t stop there! Half way through our project we had to rebrand and it was Max that gave us our name and slogan. A talented graphic designer with a decent head on his shoulders. If you want to see more of Max’s work take a look here

In December 2016 we were contacted by Hannah Nugent who volunteered her graphic design services to help out with our new merchandise that we’re offering.

Hannah delivered above and beyond after receiving a very basic brief of what we had initially wanted. We would give her an idea, she would take that idea apart, stay faithful to what we wanted and then she would give us so much more that we weren’t expecting!

Hannah was both efficient and delivered her work in a timely manner even though we had stressed to Hannah that she can take as much time as she needed, the volume and quality of work that was delivered in such a short space of time for somebody who is only working for us on a volunteer level completely exceeded our expectations.

If you would like to contact Hannah directly or for more information on Hannah’s services, please visit her website here

One of several designs Hannah contributed
Be kind to each other and try to make a conscious effort to educate those around you, your voice is a very powerful tool so use it and keep using it, if you could use it to just educate one person, you’ve already made a difference.

How can you get involved?

We are currently recruiting more bloggers and graphic designers to offer us a helping hand on a volunteer basis. Do you consider yourself to have a creative side? Drop us an e-mail! info@destigmatize.co.uk

One of the best ways you can help reduce HIV stigma is through the power of your own voice! As Judy Shepard once said “your voice is the most powerful tool in erasing hate” and we believe the same rules apply with HIV stigma, let your voice be heard! If you want to have your say on HIV stigma then we would love to hear from you so you can take part in our #STIGMAWARRIOR campaign.

For more information, you can visit our #STIGMAWARRIOR campaign here and to apply to feature in our campaign, drop us an e-mail! stigmawarrior@destigmatizehiv.com

DESTIGMATIZE was initially crowdfunded and we still need funding to keep us going but more importantly, to help get our message out there to as many people as possible! There’s no amount too small or large, any donations are greatly appreciated, for more info see our donation page or to make a quick donation click the Donate button below.
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