HIV Warriors

Photos by Alina Oswald

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n September 27, National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a new initiative and companion website launched a rainbow of warrior spirit to combat HIV/AIDS. The website features the stories of young men living with or affected by HIV—HIV Warriors—who are commited to destigmatizing the disease, educating, and promoting testing and treatment. Saturated with pride colors, these HIV Warriors are trained peer educators who will share their experiences and truths across their communities.

The young men embody the strength-in-diversity that the rainbow flag symbolizes:

“I am the Orange Warrior. My power is healing. I am a professor, and an inventor. My goal is to eliminate HIV from the world….”

HIV Warriors photo shoot“I am the Green Warrior…. My truth is about the power of family. I’ve learned so much since my diagnosis, and it all comes back to this Audrey Hepburn quote: ‘The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.’”

The vibrant voices are accompanied by stunning photographs of each Warrior, shot by Alina Oswald, A&U’s Arts Editor, who frequently participates in community-based AIDS awareness projects. The site connects users to free testing resources and PrEP/PEP resources, as well as a way to connect via Facebook. A national tour of the photographs is in the works. The creators plan on adding new Warriors to the rainbow roster as well.

HIV Warriors was created by ASCNYC, in partnership with

ASCNYC, a multiservice community organization that creates a safe, support network for New Yorkers living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS, offers peer education and training, harm reduction, specialized women’s services, HIV counseling and testing, mental health services, medical and holistic care, case management, and support groups, among others.

An NYC DOHMH-funded demonstration project, Heads or Tails creates cutting-edge HIV and STI educational materials targeted toward young men.


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