Faces of HIV will take the form of a portrait series of people who are effected by HIV and will culminate in an exhibition to show that HIV can effect anyone - it's not just gay men and people from Africa as the stigma and stereotypes would suggest.
Will is working with local Dorset HIV charity, Body Positive Dorset to produce a body of photographic portraits which aims to raise awareness about HIV and will culminate with an exhibition to coincide with World AIDS Day in December 1014. It will show people that It's a condition which can threaten everyone; young, old, straight, gay, black or white. It will give confidence to people who have the condition and show that it's OK to be HIV+ and it's OK to talk about it. The more people who understand what HIV is and who and how it effects people, the less stigma and discrimination sufferers will face.
HIV doesn't discriminate, why should we?
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a global pandemic which causes AIDS. It attacks the human immune system and renders it vulnerable to and totally ineffective against infection leading to death from opportunistic infections and cancers.
The HIV virus lives in the bloodstream of infected people and is spread through sexual contact. People with the virus may suffer no symptoms for some time making it incredibly dangerous as infected people can spread the virus unknowingly. It is estimated that there are around 20'000 people in the UK who are HIV+ but are yet to be diagnosed.
The HIV pandemic started in the early 1980's and spread rapidly across the globe unhindered without any effective drugs. To date, it is estimated by the World Heath Organisation that over 36'000'000 have died due to HIV related illness.
Since the 1980's drugs have been developed which can slow the progress of HIV which means that today, if diagnosed and treated early, sufferers may now lead healthy lives, with similar life expectancies to everyone else.
HIV sufferers face stigma and discrimination which is driven by ignorance due to a lack of education, awareness and visibility and this project hopes to help educate and eradicate stigma.
If you would like to be a part of the project and have been effected by HIV we want to hear from you! The more people who are involved, the more powerful the message will be.
For an informal confidential chat and to find out more, please call Jon at Body Positive Dorset on 01202 297386, or send us a message via the form on the contact page by clicking here.