In the last ten years, how has social media made an impact on your perception of HIV-related issues? And how can we ensure that it is used effectively in addressing issues related to HIV?
Ten years ago, people have shunned away from the issues involving HIV. In the advent of social media, our networks were widened – giving us opportunities to meet people and become part of their lives. During the course of these ten years, I would see them reach dreams, fall in love / break hearts, and some would just quietly disappear. Eventually, I would hear stories that some of my friends have contracted the virus.
Then, I ask myself, how and why? Luckily, social media is also full of information. One simple Facebook search can lead you to groups, pages, and even friends who are HIV advocates. There are countless of HIV-related posts that tell you about the virus, how it is transmitted, and where and when to get tested. Of course, there are also “fake articles” that would initially scare you; but when you think about how absurd it could be, you’d really question these claims.
To get rid of the fear, I got myself tested. I also became an advocate. Now, I am a proud HIV counselor. I tell my friends to get themselves tested. I document my volunteering work on social media (albeit, in a chosen list of friends coz my Mom might freak out). I try to reach out to as many people as possible and tell them to get tested. Why? Because I’ve been there too; I was also scared. Social media gave us a venue to educate others and somehow break the stigma.
If you want your voice to be heard today, you can just turn to social media for help. I believe that if a single voice can help raise awareness – no matter how small his network is – he will be able to reach out to thousands of people, how much more if we put our collective efforts into it? We only have to let other people know that we care, and we are here for them. One like or one share, can be equivalent to one life saved.
#Hiv #Advocacy #DayreVolunteer