The Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) has launched and is currently running a bold, new media campaign to combat HIV/AIDS stigma in Western North Carolina.

The “I Need You to Know” campaign will raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and how they affect everyone in the community.

WNCAP says stigma can act as a barrier to prevention and treatment. They say communicable disease experts cite stigma as a reason why people fail to get tested, afraid that having others know about their infection might lead to rejection from family and friends.

“It took a couple of months before I told my sisters,” WNCAP client Shirley Goode said in the release. “They didn’t want me around at all. My niece had just had my great-nephew. I didn’t get to see him until he was four years old.”

WNCAP says that HIV/AIDS stigma is worse in the South, particularly in rural areas like Western North Carolina. They hope their new media campaign will help to jumpstart prevention and show ostracized or fearful HIV-positive men, women and youth how much support they do have from their surrounding community.

The campaign features several video PSAs and posters, all proclaiming, “i need u2 know,” and, “It’s time to end HIV/AIDS stigma in WNC.”

WNCAP hopes to gather 5,000 signatures from community members on statements of support such as, “People living with HIV/AIDS deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” and, “People living with HIV/AIDS deserve unconditional love from their families.”

The statements of support can be signed electronically or downloaded and printed at WNCAP’s special “I Need You to Know” media campaign website at There you can also view the four video PSAs, which are currently airing on Charter Cable channels across Western North Carolina.