Knowing the stigma attached to having AIDS and the misconceptions about its contagiousness, this HIV-positive man decided to let the world know that he too is a victim, but in a very unorthodox manner.
Janne Antin from Finland was diagnosed with AIDS and is all too familiar with the repercussions in terms of the suffering, both physical and psychological.
That’s why Janne went out in public with a placard that read, “I am HIV-positive, Touch me!”
Janne bravely stood on the streets of Helsinki with his arms held out and eyes closed as people walked by. Some were shocked, some were silent, and some wanted nothing to do with it.
As Janne stood there, he was starting to get pretty uncomfortable.
Then, suddenly he felt something … a reassuring hand touched him.
Gradually, one by one, people from all walks of life started to respond.
Some children ran to him with open arms and hugged him tightly. One mother explained to her child what Janne was doing.
An old lady came to offer her support, a young woman flung her arms around him—they all came and Janne thanked every one of the strangers, while trying to hold back his tears.
The World Health Organization believes that many people are hesitant to get tested for HIV. If they do muster up the courage to get tested, they are afraid to tell others about their diagnosis or are even in denial, refusing to take the anti-retroviral drugs.
The fear of rejection, many times, leads to the craving of affection, which may lead to further spreading of the disease.
Janne bared his heart and was met with many other loving hearts. This video of the amazing project has been viewed millions of times.
See what a difference compassion can make to a person’s life!