Toronto Diary
3 min

LGBT celebrities come out as HIV Equal

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received on safe sex is to treat everyone the same: anyone could potentially be negative, anyone could potentially be positive. Getting tested, being aware of your status and practising safer sex across the board is just more practical and more fair. That, and it also protects against STIs, so it kinda pays off in the long run.

And such is the premise behind the new HIV-testing campaign, HIV Equal. A collaboration between World Health Clinicians and HIV activist/Project Runway alum Jack Mackenroth, the campaign aims to fight the stigma of being poz and encourage people to get tested regularly. Numerous LGBT celebrities and allies have already stepped forward to take part in a promotional photo shoot for the campaign, including Billy Porter, Bianca Del Rio and Michael Lucas.

According to a statement on the HIV Equal website, “photos include people from all walks of life who support the concept that regardless of one’s HIV status, we are all equally valuable. To help promote HIV testing, every person who takes part in the campaign will also be tested for HIV. As the campaign grows, this will help take the fear out of HIV testing. And as young people see their role models in the photos, they will want to become a part of the HIV Equal movement, as well."

Thanks to smartphones and a never-ending supply of WiFi hotspots, most young people almost always have access to information about HIV on the web. Unfortunately, not too many people actually make use of it, so it’s still really important to reach out and try to foster awareness on the subject.