We aim to give people living with HIV a voice and enable them to live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination.
Sharing real people’s stories in the media, and on social media, can show what it’s really like to live with HIV and help improve and normalise the portrayal of the long-term health condition.
We’re looking for people living with or affected by HIV who are comfortable speaking about their personal experiences and raising awareness about Terrence Higgins Trust, and who would find it empowering to share their story in the public domain.
We know this can be a very personal decision and our press team is always here to explain what’s involved and to answer any questions you might have.
What is a real story?
When the media are talking about HIV they often want to hear real stories to humanise their reporting. There is nothing as powerful as a first hand account, with real people sharing their story in their own words – putting a name and a face to HIV. Journalists generally want to speak to people who are happy to be named and photographed, but there are also lots of ways you can help by sharing your story anonymously. Get in touch with the press team if you’d like to chat to us about what might be right for you.
How your real story can be shared?
You can share your story in a variety of ways. You might be asked to provide a written comment or quote, and a photo of yourself, on your experience of living with HIV, or take part in a radio or TV interview. You may be asked to speak to a journalist on the phone for a print feature or just to chat to a researcher for a documentary.
We also need people who are happy to give talks and speeches to supporters, or to share quotes for fundraising/marketing materials. We’ll chat to you about all these options and you can decide what you’d like to be involved in. Then when we get a request that you might be able to help with, we’ll contact you and you can decide if it’s right for you.
What happens if I decide to share my story?
We’re often proactively on look for real stories to bring to life our campaigns, services and our work supporting people to live well with HIV and to combat stigma. We’re also contacted by journalists who are looking for real stories to include in a news story or feature on HIV, and need people to help with these.
The press team are here to support you and talk you through if sharing your story is right for you and what is involved. We’ll let you know what you might be asked to talk about and how the media works. We’ll also make sure you’ve given your full permission before putting you in touch with a journalist or using your story in any media work, and we will do all we can to ensure it is responsible, ethical journalism.
Want to have a chat to find out if sharing your story is right for you? Call Victoria or Emily in the press office on 079 5781 2691 or email email@example.com
During National HIV Testing Week in 2015, Carl shared his story with ITV News.
ITV contacted Terrence Higgins Trust wanting to speak to someone living with HIV and Carl volunteered to be interviewed.
After an hour with a reporter and a camera on the seafront in Brighton, Carl had dispelled myths, helped stop stigma and put a name and a face to HIV.
Carl said: ‘The feedback I got from friends, family and people on Facebook was fantastic, with old school friends saying how fantastic it was to hear my story. My mum has always been supportive but I was a little worried about her reaction to my story being shown on TV, but I rang her as soon as it aired and she said through tears that she had never been prouder.’
‘I am so glad I shared my story in the media, and I feel great knowing that people can see how passionate I am about wanting to talk about HIV. I feel really confident and I’m keen to go further and do more to help educate people on what it is really like to live with HIV.’