Positive Lives: Breaking the cycle of stigma through photography and education

Positive Lives is a global project that supports those living with HIV/AIDS and challenges the stigma and prejudices they face by using photography and personal testimonies to confront the attitudes, opinions and preconceptions surrounding HIV/AIDS. It works closely with a variety of organisations, groups and governments to challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV/AIDS and to push for greater access to treatment.

“Photography has established an important role in provoking responses to global issues and emergencies…Through partnerships, photographic exhibitions and community projects Positive Lives uses photography as a means of bring the impact of HIV/AIDS-stigma and challenging, life-defining situations to the wider public consciousness.

By working at the heart of communities and regions vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, the Positive Lives photographers reveal to us all the human stories of this pandemic. For many of those affected, HIV/AIDS can mean prejudice in life and indifference in death. In refusing to shy away from the tragedy of the impact of HIV/AIDS, our photographers reveal to us all the human stories of this pandemic and which show the dignity, hope and courage of individuals, families and communities.

Our photographers not only expose the insidious nature of the suffering caused by discrimination, but also bring to light the subtleties, complexities and intensity of a life living with HIV/AIDS.”

Among other issues, the project highlights the key role of education to prevent and protect young people from being infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The next exhibition of Positive Lives photographs will be held from October 29th – November 21st 2008 in Mexico at the Universidad Iberoamericana de Puebla; in partnership with Ayuda en Accion Mexico. Visit the website to see photos/stories by region and learn about the many issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.

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