2016 / People / Portrait_P

THE LONELINESS OF AIDS

  • Photographer
    Carol Allen-Storey

THE LONELINESS OF AIDS“AIDS is a war against humanity. We need to break the silence, banish the stigma and discrimination and ensure total inclusiveness within the struggle against AIDS. If we discard the people living with HIV/AIDS, we can no longer call ourselves human” - Nelson MandelaIn Sub-Saharan Africa the growth of teens 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 teen epidemic of AIDS. The most significant challenge these innocents face is loneliness, stigma, and isolation; they find it impossible to make friends.AIDS continues to be a disease feared but not understood as education is sparse and the medical councillors administering the drugs emphasize the peril of the disease being a death sentence to ensure the drugs are taken rather than widening the general knowledge of those infected.“We go to the hospital to have our blood tested, but we do not know why, only that the drugs we do get must be adhered for a healthy life or we can die.” - ScoviaThese are words religiously whispered by teenager Scovia as she takes her daily dosage of the ARV life saving drugs. The limited knowledge she has of the AIDS virus is that it is a killer disease and if you don’t take the drugs, you die.These intimate portraits focus on how teens cope with their experience of being HIV positive. Amidst these chilling narratives, extraordinary stories of hope and glimpses of heroism in their quest to pursue their dreams emerged.