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.
Photo by Chris de Bode © Aidsfonds
The spread of HIV will not be stopped and reversed without a relentless focus on key populations
In the first phase of the programme (2011-2015) Bridging the Gaps displayed a photo exhibition at several events across the world calling for more focus on key populations in ending aids.
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
Through their stories and pictures Rajesh, Bradley, Cindy and Thuan let visitors 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. Also David and Linara from Kyrgyzstand share their stories. The exhibition featured 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.
In this online gallery you can still view the stories as they could be seen in the photo exhibition.