In a shocking incident, a 16-year-old stood on the streets of Uzbekistan and made a simple request to strangers – “I am HIV positive. Hug me!” What happened next may bring a lump in your throat. A video posted by UNICEF on Twitter shows how people reacted to the girl and her little note. The video has managed to tug on the heartstrings of many on the micro-blogging site.
Azima, 16, was looking to change people’s perceptions about those living with HIV and AIDS in Uzbekistan. “I have been living with HIV for 10 years now. All is fine, I am enjoying life,” she says in the video.
“My purpose is to spread the message that people living with HIV are not a danger,” she says further.
She is then seen waiting next to a placard with the request for hugs. One by one, people are seen walking up to her and embracing her. As people from all ages hug her, the text on the video reads: “There are only three main ways of contracting HIV – through blood, unprotected sex and from mother to child. HIV is not transmitted when you hug and kiss, say hello, shake hands, share lunch.”
“I didn’t expect so much support. Each time someone hugged me, it felt like a family member,” Azima says in the video.
Watch the video below:
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) July 23, 2018