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Stigma Action Network

The impact

Although we’re only about six months into the project, it’s already exceeding our expectations. I don’t think any of us realised at the outset just how impactful social media could be in building relationships with the global HIV community. 

For example, as I mentioned earlier, through our social media efforts we connected with a young man named Josh Robbins who runs the www.ImStillJosh.com blog. Josh’s blog is all about his recent experiences learning that he was living with HIV, deciding to disclose his status publicly and becoming an anti-stigma advocate to support and encourage others. We’ve been able to engage with Josh and his followers – and he’s been able to do the same with ours – to talk about some of the key issues facing people living with HIV on a very personal level and in a way that’s not feasible via other platforms. It’s enabled us to engage with Josh on a meaningful level, in a social space that allows each of us to then connect with more and more people in an organic way. I think this really speaks to the rapidly growing power of social media because it’s something that wouldn’t have been possible even just a few years ago.

Josh Robbins

We’re also seeing a tremendous amount of diversity in the organisations that are following us. We were fairly confident when we set out on this project that scaling up our social media activities would enable us to engage with communities of people living with HIV, HIV organisations and LGBTQ groups. What we didn’t necessarily expect was that it would also be an effective means for reaching health organisations, human rights groups, student groups, and – importantly – the general public.

Less than one year into the project our increased social media activity, know-how and agility has already significantly expanded our reach as a network. Looking at some of the numbers since we began to receive support from ViiV Healthcare, we’ve…

Anne Stangl 2
  • Increased  the number of “likes” on our Facebook page by approximately 290%, with the average number of users reached per week currently at almost 17,000
  • Increased our Twitter followers by more than 583%, with the average number of Twitter users reached per week currently at approximately 145,000
  • Engaged with individuals and organisations who are now following us from over 45 different countries

Key Facts


Social media scale-up as a means to facilitate and strengthen coordinated global HIV stigma and discrimination reduction efforts

Run by:

The Stigma Action Network




Various HIV-stakeholders and the general public


Reaching and inspiring action among diverse HIV-stakeholders across the globe, as well as engaging the general public; Reshaping and re-crafting sometimes complex messages to inspire dialogue via social media; Bridging the gap between users of the SAN website and users of SAN social media channels; Measuring the success of our social media efforts, both quantitatively and qualitatively.


Using social media to strategically reach out to other HIV groups and activists, as well as the general public; Creating and sharing existing images, infographics, memes, videos, articles, podcasts, and blog posts that enable interaction with diverse groups of people; On-going monitoring and evaluation to inform the selection of stigma-related content and how to most effectively present that content via various social media channels.