A photo exhibition calling for more focus on key populations in ending AIDS

Photo by Chris de Bode © Aidsfonds

The spread of HIV will not be stopped and reversed without a relentless focus on key populations

Key populations (sex workers, people who use drugs, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) are hit hard and disproportionately by HIV, with a million new infections a year – that’s half the total worldwide. It is often difficult for them to have any control over the risks they face. They have to deal with a toxic mix of legal, political and social factors which can institutionalise stigma and social exclusion.

I dream of a world where everyone is accepted for who they are.
Bradley (26), Botswana

Rajesh, Bradley, Cindy and Thuan invite you to step into their world and experience what it is like to be a drug user living with HIV in Nepal, a young gay man in Botswana, a female sex worker in Uganda or a male sex worker in Vietnam. The exhibition features a unique combination of photos made by these community members themselves and complementary photos that were made by award winning photographer Chris de Bode. Through their photo stories, we wanted to create more visibility about the challenges they encounter and the HIV risks they face.

Bridging the Gaps

The photo exhibition was developed by Bridging the Gaps. Bridging the Gaps is a joint initiative of more than 90 grassroots organisations which collaborate with four Dutch non-governmental organisations, namely Aids Fonds, AFEW International, Federation of Dutch Associations for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC), and Mainline, and with five global networks, which are the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Global Forum of MSM and HIV (MSMGF) and Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). Together we address the human rights violations and challenges faced by sex workers, people who use drugs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, in accessing much-needed HIV and health services.

Online Gallery

David, Kyrgyzstan

David is 29 years old. He is a refugee and lives in Kyrgyzstan with his boyfriend Dimitry. Both are originally from Uzbekistan, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Linara, Kyrgyzstan

Linara lives in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. She is 42 years old and has just given birth to her third child. Linara has a long history of using drugs and the doctors urged her to get rid of her unborn baby.

Thuan, Vietnam

My name is Thuan and I live in Vietnam. I am a male sex worker in Ho Chi Minh City. I grew up without my father and was brought up by my mother and grandmother.

Rajesh, Nepal

Rajesh Ji lives in Nepal. He is 37 years old and until six years ago he was actively using drugs. Rajesh is living with HIV. His wife and other family members do not know he is HIV-positive.

Cindy, Uganda

Cindy lives in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, with her two daughters Sheila (19) and Esther (15). Cindy is divorced and because of that her life is not that easy. She is looking after her two girls on her own.

Bradley, Botswana

Bradley Fortuin lives in Botswana. He is 26 years old and gay. His mother died of AIDS when he was only 9 years old.