Is there a secret ingredient to fight HIV stigma?
Approximately 670,000 young people around the world were infected with HIV during the year 2013 (source). And yet, there is a feeling of youth invincibility surrounding this stat. To take one example, the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation found that three out of every four young Filipinos in the Davao Region believe they are somehow invulnerable to HIV (source).
There is as urgent a need as ever to 1) remove the taboo around HIV testing and 2) remove the shame and stigma shoved at those living with the virus.
No one is invincible.
But how can this message be spread, and how can HIV stigma be brought to zero? Can famous artists sing about it? Yes. Can famous rappers address the issues? Indeed. And we can share these songs and manifestos with the world through social media to open people's eyes—and hopefully open the discussion, as well.
But what if there was a fun way both to share HIV statistics and destroy HIV myths in a public arena and to bring up the subject of HIV testing privately with a new partner? What if all these messages could be coded as catchy drum beats? Would the discomfort with talking about HIV start to disappear?
Here's where a neat new online tool called Type Drummer comes into play.
Whatever you type into Type Drummer is converted into a unique drum loop! That means that you can type or copy and paste HIV facts, inspiring quotes about living with HIV, and other educational messages and you'll hear your text played back as a drum beat.
For example, listen to these HIV-related messages we've typed:
http://typedrummer.com/999lpv (sweet and private text message)
http://typedrummer.com/x7f2wt (bang out that myth on social media)
And, remember, to add more cowbell, just type "(t)".
Now it's time to start typing and testing different words and sounds. And, of course, we'd love to hear your messages, so feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #drumupawareness
We can bring the noise to HIV issues one drum loop at a time. We can DRUM UP AWARENESS, DISCUSSION, AND SUPPORT. It might just be catchy enough!