#CelebrateUU builds on the concept of U=U, calling on individuals living with HIV to start recognizing and celebrating our anniversaries of having an undetectable viral load. In doing so, we build a digital patchwork of survivors and a time capsule of hope for when we end the HIV epidemic.
At its most basic level, #CelebrateUU asks people to post a #CelebrateUU selfie to their social media feeds on the anniversary of their first reaching undetectable status, and to do so each year after to mark this important milestone.
So, take a selfie with a sign similar to the one above. Building on the global #UequalsU movement, we ask you to include the hashtags #UequalsU, #CelebrateUU #UU6 (with your # of years!). We encourage you to post your story of living with HIV, and answer the question “What would it mean to you to end the HIV epidemic?”
The Birth of a Movement
I was recently being interviewed for a fundraising clip for the Damien Center. When we took the above photo (credit to WFYI), I declared my #celebrateUU intentions for the first time publicly, celebrating 6 years as undetectable with my sign! Since then, I celebrated 7 years in December of 2019, and reposted my selfie with the updated hashtag.
And our web of stories grows as more people do this…
In starting this movement as individuals living with HIV, we reclaim our dignity by reclaiming our diagnosis. We learn from cancer survivors and people in long-term recovery from addiction, that anniversaries matter! They matter to the individual’s own survival and joyful living, reminding them each year to appreciate their health. They matter to the newly diagnosed, giving them hope of reaching this important milestone in their ongoing treatment. They matter to our communities, breaking down the silence, stigma and shame associated with the HIV epidemic. They matter to the world, as we work towards ending this epidemic.
A Time Capsule for the Future
In many ways, the HIV epidemic is one of those defining events in history. It defines a generation – those of who were alive before the epidemic started, and those of who were born after. When the epidemic is over, it will be another one of those defining moments. Much like D-Day, or the death of Princess Diana, or the Challenger explosion, we are all either “pre-” or “post-” a given moment – yet it is our shared history along the way that knits us together.
My hope in launching this community intervention is that we create a digital patchwork of stories of hope and inspiration – a digital time capsule of sorts. When the epidemic is ended, we can look back and have the stories of “what it was like to live before the time when the HIV epidemic was wiped out?” That is an invaluable part of our collective history.
From Silence to Celebration
2019 was a turning point in my journey with HIV. I’m grateful to the team at the Damien Center for inviting me to tell my story. It’s through the ensuing conversations and interviews that I’ve been able to move from silence to celebration!
Keep telling the story!
How to get involved?
What I’ve outlined above is my “big picture” goal – something that goes viral. To seed that path, I envisage several fields or projects in 2020/2021. Learn more in my Seeding a Movement post…
I will be including sign up forms and other information in coming weeks. Please check back! If you have questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
C. Todd Fuqua, CPP
Community Photographer, Connector & Reflector
C Todd Creations Photography LLC – your story, my lens!