As a means of understanding obstacles which prevent people living with HIV from disclosing to potential sex partners our website page is designed by and for the HIV community and supporters, who contribute using humour, theater, role play, stories, images, articles, photographs, videos and any other type of media to address stigma, fear and terminology which reinforces stigma on the dating scene. The focus remains on educating the public about people living with HIV as we strive to promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding and on changing public perceptions about the reality of people living with HIV . Using this approach the goal is to empower individuals to comfortably disclose their HIV status, externalize stigma, and emphasize the importance of taking individual responsibility for ones’ own sexual health.
The voices represented with this project, are individuals experiencing stigma and the looming threat of criminalization on the dating scene and stigma in their everyday lives as people living with HIV and those who support the community in various capacities. Please note, some content from contributors may be sexually explicit in nature, however one cannot discuss HIV disclosure to a potential sex partner without sexual explicitness at times. The subject matter in general generates some discomfort and a sense of humour is always encouraged and welcomed. Submissions reflect lived realities and the narratives will not be censored. Opinions of individuals who post stories and articles on this site do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of the HIV Disclosure Project. The HIV Disclosure Project strives to disseminate and promote information from other valuable resources on HIV related topics.
Wayne Bristow – creator and administrator of this site facilitates disclosure workshops through his local AIDS Service Organization in the Kitchener – Waterloo area. His work has taken him around the Province of Ontario, from Guelph to Thunder Bay, and London Ontario with another one scheduled for Windsor in January 2017.
I worked on a project a few years ago that dealt with homophobia in graffiti that resulted in a book being published. Over the years I had taken several photos around town of graffiti that depicted several sexual stigmas and phobias so I had a bit of a head start. The photos that became the front and back cover were mine. All of the photos can be found here https://www.flickr.com/photos/acggraffiti/
Now I am doing workshops that deal with disclosing one’s HIV status to potential partners. I have taken the idea and expanded it to help people learn to disclose their status to family, friends or anyone else that might be a part of their support team. The workshops involve humour and improv/roleplay. In our workshops we learn from the people who attend, there are no guest speakers orpower point presentations. Everything we use comes from the people who attend, so no two workshops are the same. We get much of our direction from the feedback we ask for at the completion of a workshop.
We have been asked and encouraged to include more transgender issues into our workshops. We tried it in a couple workshops but I wasn’t satisfied that we used it effectively. At our last workshop we had a trans person in attendance and when we introduced a situation that involved a trans person, ‘they’ gave us the language we needed to create a valid scenario to act out.
I am so proud of the work we do in our workshops, and finding creative ways to make it more diverse and inclusive. We have worked with CPPN (Canadian Positive People’s Network) and YouthCo in British Columbia to create the ground work to create a disclosure workshop for youth. The findings of the survey helped with development and were presented in Vancouver earlier this year. The youth disclosure project is in progress.
Next up, I have talked with my local ASO (AIDS Service Organization) to begin work on a workshop for the trans community. I am fortunate to live in an area where there is a clinic that supports the transition of people becoming who they really are. A place where they are treated holistically and competently. HIV and disclosure is a reality in their community and I will work with the community to bring a workshop to help them learn the skills they need to challenge ignorance and stigma. This is my goal for 2017. For further information about the disclosure project please contact Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org