#LifeAndLoveWithHIV: A social media initiative to support the sexual health needs of women living with HIV
Research on the sexual quality of life for women diagnosed with HIV is gaining momentum. Recent studies in BC and globally show that people with HIV, with undetectable levels of the virus in their blood, have a near-normal life expectancy and effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV. This project, #LifeAndLoveWithHIV: A social media initiative to support the sexual health needs of women living with HIV, aims to move this research evidence, along with lived experience perspectives about sexuality and relationships in HIV, directly into the hands of women living with HIV, including those who love and support them, by combining storytelling with online social media and activism.
This inter-disciplinary team of researchers and research users (including women living with HIV and care providers) has been working closely the past seven years to create new knowledge on sexual health and rights of women living with HIV. With support from an SFU Student Social Innovation Seed Grant and a CIHR Knowledge Synthesis Grant, a new open-access resource, www.lifeandlovewithHIV.ca (launched July 2018) was built to share this knowledge with women, partners, care providers, HIV policy makers, and the general public. This Reach award will allow the team to:
- Hire and mentor five women living with HIV as feature writers on this online magazine and blog; they will collectively produce 25 blog articles on sexuality and relationships, and be grounded in lived experiences and supported by research evidence.
- Implement and evaluate a social marketing initiative to promote uptake of this information, through a collection of YouTube videos, Facebook polls, Instagram images, Twitter parties, and hashtags such as #UntoldDesiresInCanada (which generated >20K impressions).
The dissemination plan includes measuring and evaluating the outcomes of this work. Through this initiative the aim is to reduce HIV stigma, support the sexual health needs of women living with HIV, to not only save, but also improve the quality of, women’s lives.