XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Through positive eyes - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

M.C. Pimenta1, L. Kamel1, I. Brito2, D. Gere3, M. Gideon4, R. Varma5

1Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association ABIA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2Brazilian Ministry of Health, STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis, Brasilia, Brazil, 3UCLA,Art|Global Health Center, Los Angeles, United States, 4Make ART/Stop AIDS, Cape Town, South Africa, 5Make ART/Stop AIDS, New Delhi, India

Issues: Civil society organizations (NGOs) and persons living with HIV have contributed with the reduction of stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS. This pro-activity and involvement has shown to be fundamental to the support of PLWHA and their families.
The project consists in involving persons living with HIV on advocacy to combat stigma and discrimination. The methodology consisted of capturing images and life histories of 17 adults (male and females). A workshop was conducted (june 2009) in Rio de Janeiro. During 2 weeks they received instructions in photography and had their portraits taken. Expositions with material produced (photos, videos and posters) were exhibited. A permanent photography group was created at ABIA for persons living with HIV. The original idea of this project “Positive Eyes” was conceived by MAKE ART/STOP AIDS - MA/South Africa. In Brazil it was developed by the Brazilian Interdisciplinary AIDS Association in collaboration with Art|Global Health Center (AGHC), University of California (UCLA) with the support of the National Department of STD/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health.
Lessons learned: Participants revealed creative forces and became agents of change. Became more involved, self-steam was strengthened and new social networks with group participants and the local support group (ABIA) were established. Images captured by participants and expositions gave participants an opportunity to deal with their lives in a more respectful way. Health promotion and HIV/AIDS prevention were strengthened. Important to point out that this experience needs to be followed by continuous support from a local group (NGO,PWA group) because many demands arise as a result of the initial photography experience.
Next steps: There is possibility to extend this experience to other cities in country and provide information and real life histories and comprehension of the complexities of living with HIV and AIDS.

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