Greater Than AIDS releases new "We Are Family" campaign

In a new campaign titled "We Are Family," Greater Than AIDS has partnered with Georgia's Department of Public Health and other local health departments to spotlight the role love and support play for someone who is living with HIV. Six different people living with HIV and their families are the focus of the campaign. "You have to have a strong support system," says one of the interviewees; as we see from each individual's story, that support can come from both parents and children.

Support is key not only for these individuals but for anyone living with HIV. Almost half of all Georgia residents are connected to someone living with HIV, according to a new survey, and that number increases to 59% when speaking about African-American Georgians, who are disproportionately affected by the disease. In fact, 28% of African-American respondents reported having a family member who is affected by HIV. 

It is important to not only to raise the public's consciousness about HIV in the medical sense, but also to share stories that go beyond the numbers and give humanity to the disease. As GLAAD mentions in its Southern Stories: A Guide for Reporting on LGBT People in Georgia, there are many problems that HIV-positive Georgians can face, such as criminalization for non-disclosure of a positive HIV status. Thus, by giving a face to HIV, we can about the daily life of a Georgia resident living with HIV – pretty much the exact same as someone who does not have HIV, as "We Are Family" demonstrates.

The "We Are Family" series also highlights the intersections between HIV, religion, race, and being LGBT. Each story demonstrates a different combination of these four identifying characteristics, but each story shares a common message: support is important, and equally important is erasing the stigma that is associated with being HIV-positive. "It was my ignorance that made me push [my son] away," says one mother in a video about her and her son. Greater Than AIDS is accelerating acceptance in Georgia with this new campaign, to be launched nationally in 2016. To learn more, please visit Greater Than AIDS and GLAAD's Southern Stories page.