From the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia…
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With the AIDS Walk Philly just days away, a queer Latino group is carrying out a new campaign to stop the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS in North Philadelphia. Latinos make more than 13-percent of new HIV cases and, according to statistics, they are less likely to get tested. Experts believe the stigma of having HIV could discourage early testing. So “Positivo” is all about transforming negative attitudes about having HIV into positive.
“We kept hearing Latinos are homophobic, there’s more stigma in the Latino community,” says Elicia Gonzales, executive director of GALAEI. “But that’s not true.” Gonzales says the GALAEI conducted a small survey of about 100 people showing that Latinos are accepting of family members and friends who are gay, as well as those with a known HIV status. So she says they launched Positivo to help dispel the myth. The campaign includes positive images of Latinos from the neighborhood saying what’s positive about knowing your HIV state. “We canvassed in as many parts of North Philly as we could,” says Nikki Lopez, youth counselor at GALAEI. “We really wanted to integrate the images into the communities themselves, especially in areas that do not have the resources we have downtown.”
The group also started a social media campaign on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtags #PositivoPhilly and #GALAEIPhilly. The group says Positivo is the first campaign of its kind.