Break the HIV Stigma: the Heroic Stories, Art, and Activism that Bolster Self-Testing

Break the HIV Stigma: the Heroic Stories, Art, and Activism that Bolster Self-Testing

June 27, 2024
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On June 27, 2024, International HIV Testing Day, ‘I-AM’ spotlights four remarkable Canadian HIV activists who boldly confront stigma and champion the cause of HIV awareness and testing. Their stories – vividly captured in pozcast episodes hosted by James Watson on – inspire us to take action and spread the message far and wide….

Shaun Proulx's story is a powerful call-to-shed-fears, embrace testing, and reject stigma. With a spirited refusal to be defined by HIV, he reminds us all: HIV isn’t a death sentence, we're living in an era of miracles. His unapologetic attitude has made him a powerful voice against HIV stigma. "I don’t give a flying f**k what anyone thinks about me,” Shaun asserts. By embracing his status openly, this talk show host, publisher, and activist, encourages others to get tested and live authentically. His fearless approach is a must-listen for anyone needing a fresh perspective. And inspiration to get tested! Listen to Shaun here.

I don’t give a flying f#@k what anyone thinks about me in the broadest sense of that sentence... I’m not apologizing for it, and I don’t accept your stigma.

Then there’s matchless, Mikiki. They blend art and activism, using drag and performance to turn HIV stigma on its ear. Literally. Their creative expression brings HIV awareness to new audiences, turning art into a dynamic tool for social change. Mikiki’s work exemplifies how art can mobilize and inspire action, making their story a powerful testament to creativity and activism. Tune into Mikiki’s story.

performance artist, Mikiki

Accidental activist, Randy Davis focuses on community engagement and education, advocating for support networks for people living with HIV. By openly discussing his status, Randy aims to normalize HIV and reduce the associated fears. His commitment to education and support offers hope and encouragement to many. Hear Randy’s journey.

the accidental activist, Randy Davis

Finally, veteran HIV warrior, Bob Leahy has long championed the U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) movement. Through relentless policy advocacy and community action, Bob has significantly advanced HIV awareness and treatment. His decades-long resilience and dedication shine through in his story. Listen to Bob’s insights.

HIV activist (and allround rebel rouser), Bob Leahy

These narratives show that confronting stigma head-on can break down barriers and lead to meaningful change. Whether through fearless media presence, artistic expression, community support, or relentless advocacy, these activists demonstrate the power of taking a stand against HIV stigma.

The time is now to get tested! Order your HIV self-test kit here! And take the first step toward knowing your status. Spread the word, stand up to stigma, and get involved. Your voice matters, and together, we can create a world free of HIV stigma.

Don’t forget to checkout their full stories on Positive Effect and let their courage inspire your own journey!

The 'We Demand' protest on August 28, 1971. (Jearld Moldenhauer, “Ottawa March Demonstrators,” The ArQuives Digital Exhibitions)

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