Seeking Participants for Video Testimonials Featuring Stories of People Living with HIV

The Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control of the Public Health Agency of Canada is developing a series of video testimonials featuring stories from people living with HIV to be promoted as part of World AIDS Day 2019 activities and for awareness and education campaigns in the future. The videos will share the perspectives of people living with HIV in a positive, uplifting, compassionate, and meaningful manner, with a focus on reducing HIV stigma and raising awareness of the impact of the U=U message. A time limited steering committee made up of HIV stakeholders and people living with HIV (PLWH) has been established to provide advice on the direction of the videos.


Video Series Tone and Key Messages

The Steering Committee recommended the umbrella theme and key message for the videos should be U=U. Within the context of U=U, the videos will explore how people’s lives have been and can be transformed including their relationships with others, romance, finding a partner, and living to an old age, and how HIV stigma has affected their lives.

The videos will seek to represent diverse perspectives, including members from key populations impacted by HIV and from across age groups in a non-stereotypical manner.

Up to six videos will be produced ranging in length from 1-4 minutes. The first video in the series will be done in a compilation style, introducing a number of different individuals living with HIV and providing brief snap shots of different aspects of their experiences living with HIV and the impact that U=U has had on their lives. The remaining five videos will each explore the experiences of one person in more depth.


Introductory Video

The introductory compilation video will present a wide variety of people living with HIV and introduce a few key facts that Canadians should know about (e.g.: HIV Is now a manageable chronic condition, U=U, while anyone can get HIV, it is often seen in some populations because of the social determinants of health). Some of the key themes this video will touch on includes the following:

  • By sticking with their treatment plans, PLWH have taken control of their health… U=U means life can be lived to the fullest
  • Countering sexual health stigma… U=U challenges the stigma that people living with HIV are less sexual or are dangerous, to be avoided and stigmatized
  • New prevention tools such as PrEP and PEP and… U=U means that treatment can serve as prevention
  • Dating with HIV, finding partner, and romance with HIV is not dead…U=U means sexual relationships are possible without spreading HIV
  • Then and now… what U=U means to long term survivors
  • With treatment HIV becomes an invisible manageable condition – it is invisible yet real with episodic physical, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations (good and bad)


The stories videos will take a more in depth look at five of the people featured in the introductory video and will explore the themes outlined previously.

1. Jon’s story – Gay male perspective (older person/long term survivor)

2. Jane’s story – Indigenous perspective

3. Nick’s story – Person born with HIV (youth)

4. Tim’s story – Perspective of a person who uses or used drugs

5. Kate’s story – Heterosexual female



Through the introductory video key issues will be introduced and real life experiences will be shared from a variety of perspectives. The goal would be to have representation from all of the key populations most impacted by HIV as well as some participants who do not fall within the key populations. Including a broad cross section of participants in this manner will help to avoid stigmatization, reinforce the fact that anyone can get HIV, and provide more opportunities for viewers to find a perspective they can identify with.

The stories videos will take a more in-depth exploration of five people’s experiences of living with HIV. A reference to the introductory video and other story videos will be provided at the end of each video to encourage people to view the entire series.

Two language versions of each video will be produced (one English and one French) using voice over technology. At least one of the stories videos will be told in French with an English version being produced using voice over technology.


Knowledge Mobilization

At a minimum, the videos would be posted on and video snippets would be produced to promote the series via social media, including Twitter (@CDNMinHealth, @CPHO_Canada, @NewsroomGC, @GovCanHealth), Facebook (Healthy Canadians page), Instagram (@HealthyCdns) and through PHAC’s LinkedIn account, if appropriate.

The aim is to have the videos completed ahead of World AIDS Day (WAD) 2019 in which case the WAD social media plan would incorporate social media promotion of the videos. A viewing of one or more of the videos could also be incorporated into the Minster of Health or Chief Public Health Officer’s WAD program. Non-traditional methods of distribution will also be explored such as dating sites.

PHAC would also explore other channels for distribution including the following:

  • Promoted through PHAC’s knowledge broker for HIV and hepatitis C information.
  • Promotion at relevant regional events, conferences and shared with relevant regional organizations.
  • Promotion through HIV community-based organisations.
  • Provide a viewing of the series through the CCDIC Webinar Series.
  • Sharing with provincial and territorial counterparts>/li>
  • Consider options for promoting the French versions of the videos on COCQ-SIDA’s Je suis séropo web site.

Finally, the possibility of a marketing plan is also being explored.


Interested in learning more and applying to take part in this project?

Download Participant Application and Consent for Video Testimonial Project