Living outside a large city, they might think very carefully about letting acquaintances know of their status.
Proceeds from the street appeal in Dunedin today will be used to support HIV positive people from Otago who may wish to attend support events usually held in the North Island.
The appeal is organised by a group of volunteers known as the Working Together Group and some of the money is also used for the yearly May candlelight memorial service for those who have died of Aids.
Red ribbons are worn on World Aids Day as a sign of support and will be available from collectors in the central city today.
Ms Loftus said she understood Aids awareness campaigns were the first to use a crossed ribbon as a symbol.
Its use dates back to 1991, the result of a collaboration between community artists.
Statistics released by the Aids Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago show that nearly 3000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in New Zealand since the epidemic began.