SALUS - participatory communication for social change

Using a participatory communication approach, the SALUS team became the drivers of change within their community, inspiring other youth to join their project, facilitating community-level discourse about HIV stigma, the importance of acceptance, support and learning about prevention and treatment.

Making their digital storytelling films empowered creative expression, enabling them to create and re-define HIV communication strategies and messaging within their localised cultural contexts. Amplify theirs, and their community's voices generated solidarity, increased confidence to challenge social norms and assumptions about HIV stigma, further enabling ownership and the firm belief that they are the drivers of change.

We just need to talk

Inspired to tell his own story about how HIV stigma prevented his mother from telling him that she was living with HIV, Aphiwe made a film used to encourage community members to break the silence of stigma, by simply talking to one another. “If only she could have told me, I could have supported her and she would not have died.”

I want other young people to know that you can live a normal life with HIV

Cindy, tells her story about trying for a baby with her negative partner, made possible because she maintains an undetectable viral load.

A lack of HIV knowledge is the killer 

MC one of our film makers made a film about how a lack of HIV knowledge impacts his community.

The film won an award at the 2019 Johannesburg Fringe Film Festival.

Media advocacy - challenging stigma at the local clinics 

Whilst filming in the townships a group of local people gathered to enquire what was happening - inspired by the SALUS team they shared their stories about the stigma they encounter when they visit the local HIV clinic. They made a film, which they then showed to the clinic manager.

The mask I wear on the inside. A young man’s story about his experience of stigma. 

A young man, born with HIV joins the team, inspired by their vision and purpose, tells his own moving story about his experience of HIV stigma.

Using Facebook to reach thousands of youth. 

Zee, empowered by the SALUS project further develops her facebook project - “infected and affected”, facilitating discussion and support among over a thousand young people who want to learn more about HIV, share their experiences and encourage acceptance and support.

We want to tell our stories too - we want the world to know what it is like to be a young person who was born with HIV.

The team worked alongside a group of young people who were infected by HIV at birth. Meeting regularly for lunch, the team shared their storytelling films. Inspired, the group wanted to tell their stories too, resulting in the team making three powerful podcasts, now available on Spotify.


All of these films were used to reach thousands of young people, generating discussion that broke the silence of stigma, facilitated acceptance and support and increased knowledge about HIV.