Power Over HIV campaign launches with new mural in South Memphis

The east wall of 960 South Bellevue Boulevard in South Memphis has gained a colorful new look. The building is the site of Memphis’ newest community mural painted by local artist Brandon Marshall.

The mural is the cornerstone of the “Power Over HIV” public-service campaign, an effort at Regional One Health to remind HIV+ patients to stay committed to their doctor-prescribed medical regime so they can achieve an “undetectable” status. The painting covers 60 yards of the brick wall.

Living undetectably with HIV means having fewer than 20 copies of the virus, also known as HIV viral load, in a patient’s blood. Patients who are undetectable can enjoy healthy long lives and dramatically reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The inspiration for the mural came through both the campaign name, Power Over HIV, and the artist’s unique ability to use street art to create a cultural connection to important educational messages. In this case, the mural is situated in a thoroughfare that is trafficked regularly by residents in cars and on foot and bicycle, and in a community where HIV education is crucial, but still subject to stigma and sensitivities.

A grant to Regional One Health Adult Special Care Center from the Ryan White Programs made the Power Over HIV public-service campaign possible. RedRover donated in-kind marketing services to create and support the campaign. The artist, Brandon Marshall, also donated a portion of his time to the campaign.

The mural is one piece of the Power Over HIV campaign -- in addition to the mural, the campaign involves letter writing to ask community leaders to support the Power Over HIV campaign, social media content sharing, a patient toolkit that case managers will be handing out, and an advertisement in the Tri-State Defender.

The end goal of Power Over HIV is to move more high-risk HIV+ patients in Memphis to the undetectable low-risk category, and tools and tips will be provided throughout the community in April.

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