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The Enemy of AIDS "Stigma"

Carol Allen Storey | Uganda

Untitled

AIDS continues to be a disease feared but not understood as education is sparse and medical councilors administering drugs emphasize the peril of the disease being a death sentence to ensure the drugs are taken.

In Sub-Saharan Africa the growth of children contracting the AIDS virus is growing exponentially, especially in rural regions where many women do not access the mother to child prevention drugs because they birth at home and not in hospitals. Their behaviour has resulted in a youth epidemic of AIDS. The most significant challenge these innocents face is loneliness, stigma, and isolation; they find it impossible to make friends. Thus, MUCUT, a newly created AIDS volunteer out reach programme has been established to reduce the stigma and provide critical support. Since its birth in 2015, with the seed money of the photographer, it has been instrumental in uniting children and young people with HIV/AIDS positive status, providing a valuable support network, education and counselling in order to fight stigma and psycho-social trauma associated with HIV/AIDS.

Since 2006, I have been developing ‘ANGELS at the edge of darkness’, a personal project that illuminates the plight of women and children managing poverty and the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Since pursuing this project the testing and the treatment for HIV/AIDS has significantly improved. Unfortunately now more children then adults and the LGBT community are the innocent victims of the indiscriminate virus that continues to kill. Stigma is the most significant barrier in controlling the AIDS virus.

These intimate portraits focus on how these children cope with their experience of being HIV positive. Recently, a local based community outreach program has dramatically helped these children through their struggles of living with the virus. Amidst these chilling narratives, extraordinary stories of hope and glimpses of heroism in their quest to pursue their dreams emerged.

Elton John AIDS Foundation

www.castorey.com

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