HIV In Real Life Stigma Reduction Campaign & Website

Reducing HIV-related stigma with real stories

When people’s ideas of HIV are 30 years out of date, stigma spreads. And that upstream barrier to health can keep those at risk from seeking the help they need. KW2 was privileged to work with people who could teach Wisconsinites how preventing, treating and living with HIV has changed.


In focus groups and as members of a campaign advisory board, people living with and affected by HIV told us they felt well-informed, tired of being targeted and frustrated by the stigma they encountered in others. An HIV awareness campaign that spoke directly to this at-risk community simply wouldn’t work. To support them, we needed to help people living with and affected by HIV share their own stories.


Fourteen honest, courageous people became the focal point of our stigma reduction campaign, boldly photographed and featured in print ads and transit posters, billboards, banner ads, online dating apps and on buses. We turned in-depth interviews into short videos and personal stories told on the HIV In Real Life campaign site, where visitors could both learn how HIV prevention, testing and treatment have changed, and connect with free HIV testing and other community resources.


HIV in Real Life is creating a healthier Wisconsin—and more supportive, well-informed communities—by reducing the stigma that can prevent people from getting tested, sharing their HIV status or adhering to treatment. Launched in July of 2018, the Department of Health Services’ new HIV awareness campaign is projected to earn more than 56 million media impressions in its first 6 months.

Two men with arms on each others shoulders
City bus wrapped with HIV "loving without limits" ad and smiling man
Open laptop with website on screen
Cell phone screen with mobile app on it

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