• George Hankers was diagnosed with HIV when he was 19. (Youtube)Source: Youtube
The video is part of a social experiment to test how sympathetic the general public would be towards someone living with HIV.
Michaela Morgan

16 Mar 2017 - 9:49 AM  UPDATED 16 Mar 2017 - 9:49 AM

A young man living with HIV has taken part in a social experiment that has allowed Londoners to share heartwarming messages of support with him.

George Hankers—who was diagnosed with HIV at 19—stood blindfolded in the middle of Trafalgar Square, holding a sign that read ‘I’m HIV+’.

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Passersby then had the opportunity to approach him and write a message on the sign, leaving notes that said: “We’re with you” and “Bravery speaks volumes”.

Hankers removes his blindfold at the end of the clip and is moved to tears by the messages of hope.

He collaborated with advocacy group Shape History to create the video and remove the stigma associated with HIV.

"When I was diagnosed with HIV, I battled with very low self- esteem, and I’d been blinded from hope,” Hankers said in a press release.

“The sense of unity I had after the experiment was very heartwarming... It really goes to show that there is more comfort out there for people living with HIV than we initially think.” 

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Shape History’s Alex Thompson-Armstrong told the Huffington Post that he didn’t expect the response to the experiment to be as positive as it was.

“The mission was to see if the general public would be sympathetic toward someone with HIV or whether there would be a lot of questions and debate around the issue,” he said.

You can watch the clip below: