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Stigma Under The Lens

Linneth from Bolivia, living with HIV

November 14 2011 - Christian Aid has partnered with Magnum Photos to launch Stigma Under the Lens, a series of thought-provoking audio-photographic slideshows for World AIDS day featuring brave people around the world living with HIV under the shadow of stigma.

Four Magnum photographers (Alessandra Sanguinetti, Peter van Agtmael, Olivia Arthur and Patrick Zachmann) travelled to Kenya, Bolivia, Tajikistan, India, and the UK to record powerful testimonies that tell of discrimination by friends, family and society at large.

There have been many medical advances in the past 30 years since HIV was first identified, yet stigma remains the biggest barrier to people around the world accessing lifesaving treatment.

The stories examine how stigma manifests itself in everyday life for someone who has HIV, and go some way to explaining why thousands of people would rather not know their status than face discrimination at home, in their community, at work and within their faith.

Winnie Ssanyu Sseruma, Advocacy officer for HIV at Christian Aid said: ‘Stigma is the biggest barrier to effectively tackling the spread of HIV. If HIV, and the stigma that surrounds the illness, is not understood and addressed then it will continue to devastate populations across the globe. Family, friends, communities and the church all have a role to play in helping to break down barriers of ignorance and misunderstanding. Self stigma is also a big problem and means that many people are too afraid to speak out for fear of what others might say about them; they are even too scared to visit a doctor and seek potentially life saving treatment.’

The audio-photographic slideshows will be available online at christianaid.org.uk/hiv from 28 November 2011 and a photographic exhibition will appear at Rich Mix (35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA (www.richmix.org.uk) from 28 November until 11 December 2011.

If you would like further information please contact Karen Lobo-Morell on 0207 523 2404 klobomorell@christian-aid.org or Emma Wigley on 020 7523 2444 ewigley@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

2. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk

6. Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative of great diversity and distinction owned by its photographer-members. With powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities www.magnumphotos.com

Stigma Under the Lens slideshows

Video: Stigma Under the Lens

Powerful personal stories