"You’ve Got This" Helps Those Newly Diagnosed With HIV
A website is working to help give people newly diagnosed with HIV a message of hope for their future. Healthline's website "You've Got This" allows people living with HIV/AIDS to upload short videos that will give hope to the more than 2 million people recently diagnosed with HIV.
"Many people who are faced with a recent diagnosis of HIV feel completely alone," said Director of Marketing, Tracy Rosecrans at Healthline. This initiative is meant to provide them with some hope and a feeling of community. They have a place to go to get some sound advice from those who are dealing with the disease themselves. The goal is to let them know that they can still live a full and healthy life and that they've got this."
Swimmer/model Jack Mackenroth, who competed in the fourth season of "Project Runway," is among those whose video is prominently displayed on the site.
"I've been living with HIV for 24 years," said Mackenroth. "I was diagnosed in 1989. Back then I was just really concerned about survival; I thought I'd would be dead within a few years. It was a much different climate back then around HIV/AIDS than now, so that's encouraging."
According to the website founders, the site gives people "the opportunity to give hope and advice to those who've been diagnosed recently by telling them, 'You've got this.'"
"What I want to say to you is that you're no different than you were before your diagnosis, you just found out something new about yourself... I know it can be very shocking, but you're still the same person, you're still loveable, you're still worthy, there are still people that want you and there's a whole community out there of support for you," said Mackenroth in his video. "HIV is one of the few diseases that carries a stigma with it -- mental illness is another one, drug addiction is another one -- but I encourage you to do the best you can not to internalize that shame and blame, and instead use HIV as an opportunity to explore everything that you are and possibly help fight the stigma for everyone living w HIV for being vocal, a role model."
Mackenroth's video is one of many that users from every race, class, age and sexual orientation have submitted to YouTube and the website, to help people have hope about their HIV diagnosis.
User Terry Gee said, "My life seemed to crumble around me... I felt alone in the world," before discussing disclosure, finding a support group and the realities of living with HIV.
"Adherence is key," said Gee. "Never miss a dose of your medicine."
Best friends Thunder Kellie and Phalcon don matching "LHIV" shirts and caps to share their upbeat message about living with HIV. Phalcon was relatively newly diagnosed, saying, "It’s one pill a day." Thunder Kellie, now 37-years-old has been living with HIV since 1997 and said, "I have been living well. I take three pills a day, and it’s okay. If you’ve found out you’re HIV positive you can live. You’ve got this!"
In addition to raising spirits, Healthline will donate $10 for every video created to the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation (TRBF) of the World AIDS Institute. TRBF is the first and only organization in the 31-year history of AIDS created with the sole mission of finding a cure. Its central tenets are HIV cure awareness, education, securing funding for a cure and supporting cutting-edge therapies.
"We are proud to be a partner in You’ve Got This," said Timothy Ray Brown co-founder of the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation of the World AIDS Institute. "The initiative is very much in line with our mission of giving those diagnosed with HIV hope for the future."
For more information, visit http://www.healthline.com/health/hiv-aids/youve-got-this#sthash.Iu8Of47t.dpuf or https://www.facebook.com/TheNewFaceofHIV
This story is part of our special report titled "Live a Life Worth Living." Want to read more? Here's the full list.