By Alex Garner
Stories are the most effective way for people to understand all that HIV encompasses. Many people can’t grasp what it means to live with HIV or they have a very outdated notion of what it’s all about. When we share our experiences with others they can begin to see all the nuance and complexity that exists around HIV. The HIV Story Project is an innovative and exciting endeavor that hopes to take its message to the International AIDS Conference in July.
The HIV Story Project is raising funds to be able to present four different and distinct cultural art events at the AIC. There is a short film, a video story telling booth, spoken word and a live dance program, each expressing different narratives and emotions around the HIV experience.
Below is a clip from Post: Ballet’s Ours- “A live dance program which explores the impact of HIV/AIDS on human interaction, intimacy and romantic relationships.”
Take a moment to watch the compelling video and visit their website to get a glimpse of all the stimulating things they are working on. They are using media and the arts in a way that help people better understand the diverse stories that come out of HIV.
People need to be open and honest when talking about what it’s like to live with HIV. Often a frank discussion can be provocative and controversial and can be at odds with mainstream prevention. HIV-positive people need to be able to talk about their struggles and their successes.
We are all quite familiar with the struggles associated with HIV – the pain, the loss, the death. But people with HIV tend to be less forthright about some of the positive aspects. We can live healthy lives, have sexualities and yes, even climb mountains. We can’t be afraid to be open about who we are because it might challenge the work prevention is doing. If healthy HIV positive people threaten prevention then prevention needs to do its job better.
The cultural arts can shine a light on all of the various stories we have to tell around HIV. We have stories of loss, triumph, redemption and rebellion. There is tremendous power when someone can speak honestly and unashamedly about what it means to live with HIV. The HIV Story Project does an excellent job of helping to expand our HIV narratives. Let’s hope they’ll be able to do that on an even larger stage this summer.
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