HIV Smart is a newly developed nonprofit organization that focuses on education about preventative methods (PrEP/PEP), education about risk behaviors, advocating HIV testing and the importance of knowing your status. HIV Smart also creates awareness about the serious link between people living with HIV and depression, and last but definitely not least, places an emphasis on fighting stigma.
The heart of HIV Smart campaign is a social media photo campaign. We encourage everyone to use their pictures across all forms of social media from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter. The recognizable imagery will help to raise awareness through increased visibility and foster real intelligent conversations relaying true facts and dispelling myths. These conversations will cover the challenges associated with the virus and stress the importance of treating all people with dignity and compassion.
Our goals are to create multiple photo events in each of the 50 states with a large focus on the top 5 states with the highest transmission rates (New York, Florida, California, Georgia, and Texas). We hope that each photo event will help educate everyone regardless of status, create more public awareness that it’s only disease, and reinforce that shame of any sort should never be associated with HIV.
HIV Smart was created by founder and President Ryan Colford, “to dispel ignorance because of all the disinformation still being circulated to the public in an age of technology. Real facts need to be known, and should be shared.” He developed the idea of forming the organization, corresponding website, and blending it with his talents as a photographer by adding a social media photo campaign.