DPH and Greater Than AIDS Team Up to Launch “We Are Family” Campaign

December 1, 2015

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) HIV Prevention Program and Greater Than AIDS have teamed up to combat the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in Georgia.

Together, the organizations have launched the “We Are Family” campaign to encourage those who are HIV positive to look to family and friends for support. Individuals who have a strong support system are more likely to get and stay in care—which improves health outcomes and reduces the spread of the disease.

Produced as part of the Georgia Greater Than AIDS (Georgia>AIDS) public information partnership, the multi-platform media and community outreach campaign profiles families from across the state who have a loved one living with HIV.

There are approximately 50,000 Georgians living with HIV or AIDS and more than 40 percent of those don’t realize they are HIV positive.

Duston Price, 30, is a spokesperson for the campaign and was diagnosed with HIV in October 2011.

“It was a dark time,” Price said. “It was a lonely place to be – I was scared, isolated and alone.”

Struggling through the difficult times, Price waited years to seek treatment due to fear and apprehension over living with his condition.

He found the inspiration to face his health condition from others living with similar circumstances.

“I was inspired after seeing all of these healthy people around me going through the same thing,” he said. “They taught me how to take care of myself again. It was a transition from an awful, terrible thing to such a better place.”

The support system that stems from family and loved ones is a crucial component to clinical treatments for HIV patients. Price’s story is no exception. In the face of fear and anxiety, he found love and support when reaching out to his family.

“I struggled with telling my family about my status because I didn’t want to make anything worse for them, but it turned out to be opposite,” he said. “They loved me and supported me.”

Price explained that he wanted to be a spokesperson for the campaign to fight the stigma that clouds the HIV community. He believes that increased discussions about HIV will help communities gain a better understanding of the condition and encourage more HIV positive individuals to get into care.

“The support is there and I think the world is starting to take a little bit of a turn, as far as their understanding of HIV,” he said.

For those struggling with discussing their health status, Price encourages them to make their health a priority and let the support of others help them overcome their fears.

“My advice to those recently diagnosed is to take care of yourself,” said Price. “Get into treatment and get help. It’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be – you’re going to have support, love and kindness.”

View Price's "We Are Family" video PSA to learn more about his story. For more information on the “We Are Family” campaign and to view other video PSAs from campaign spokespeople, visit www.georgia.greaterthan.org

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