More

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

He went searching for the touch of a human. He found so much more.

A man with HIV asked strangers for some human contact. Their sweet reactions brought him to tears.

This man stood on the streets of Helsinki and asked people to touch him.

But wait, it's not nearly as creepy as it sounds.


He's a stranger, but the real danger is ignorance. See what I did there? Image by Yle Kioski.

He's part of a unique project from Yle Kioski, a Finnish broadcasting company that is working to challenge the fear and stigma around people who have HIV.

While HIV and AIDS remain a global epidemic, stigma around the virus is harmful and deadly in its own way.

People with HIV or AIDS may experience a lack of confidentiality at the doctor's office, travel bans, employment discrimination, social isolation, and more.

A lab technician conducts an HIV test in Kampala, Uganda. Photo by Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images.

The World Health Organization cites fear of stigma and intolerance as the primary reason people are reluctant to get tested, tell others about their status, and even take the recommended anti-retroviral drugs.

To put it plainly: Fear and stigma of HIV and AIDS may be a reason it's so hard to stop them from spreading.

And that's where our Finnish friend comes in.



He's still here. Don't be alarmed. Image by Yle Kioski.

He's HIV-positive, and he's challenging stigma by asking people to touch him.

He took to the streets of Helsinki with a simple sign and a small request.

Image by Yle Kioski.

People were wary at first. They stared and passed him.

But soon, he got his first handshake.

Before long, he received hugs and support from lots of people.

Even a few kids got in on the heartwarming moment.

The love and kindness and simplicity of human touch from complete strangers was overwhelming.

When you go through life having people recoiling from your touch or being afraid that they'll accidentally catch HIV or AIDS if they sit near you too long, something as simple as a handshake or a hug means a lot.

GIF set by Yle Kioski.

It's proof that you don't need much to put a little good in the world, even when you're up against something as big as the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

We can all fight stigma and fear just by listening, offering support, and spreading kindness to the people who need it most.

Check out the rest of this touching video (sorry, I had to do it) below.

It's entirely in Finnish, but compassion is a universal language.


True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less