News: What does it mean to have HIV?

By Susan Sedlazek — August 29, 2012

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Living with the virus that causes AIDS is a reality for an estimated 34.2 million people across the globe. Every day, more than 4,600 people will die of an AIDS-related cause, while 7,000 more people (900 of them children) will contract HIV. In the United States, there are more than one million people living with HIV. Over four in ten Americans reporting that they know someone who is HIV positive or has died of AIDS.

While awareness and attitudes surrounding HIV have certainly changed since its emergence in the early 1980s, misconceptions persist. To foster a better understanding of what it means to live with the virus, Positively Aware magazine has set aside one day a year for people affected by HIV to capture a moment from their life with a digital photograph. On Friday, September 21, anyone can record a special image depicting the way HIV impacts them, their loved ones, colleagues, or communities. “We’re asking everyone affected by HIV, whether they are positive or negative, to share with all of us an image of their life that expresses what it means to live with HIV,” said Positively Aware editor Jeff Berry. “Their images, captured over a single day, will create a rich photographic tapestry of hope, strength and support.”

This is the third year in a row for the magazine’s A Day with HIV photo essay, which aims to draw the world’s attention to the daily trials and triumphs of people living with HIV in hopes of eliminating the stigma often associated with the virus. Photos from previous years show many moments that are strikingly ordinary – in the garden, at the office, and in the company of friends. Other images serve as a reminder that living with HIV still has its burdens. They include a man hooked up to an IV, a vial of medication with a $5,763.08 price tag, and a hand with a small, bleeding cut.

Digital images for this year’s photo essay need to be submitted by Tuesday, September 25 to Updates and selected photos will be posted on A Day with HIV’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The final photo selection for the A Day with HIV photo essay will be announced in October 2012 and published in the November/December issue of Positively Aware. To learn more about the project and submission guidelines, visit A Day with HIV’s website.

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