18 stories of people from different regions of Belarus living with HIV and successfully taking antiretroviral therapy.
To the World Remembrance Day of AIDS Victims in Minsk Gorky Central Park a photo exhibition “People +” was installed. The exhibition was organized by the United Nations agencies in Belarus, with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus.
The photo exhibition “People +” tells 18 stories of people from different regions of Belarus living with HIV and successfully taking antiretroviral therapy. The main ideas of the photo exhibition are attracting attention to HIV issues, informing about achievements in combating HIV/AIDS and the opportunities provided by antiretroviral therapy, as well as combating stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Vinay Saldana, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Alanna Armitage, UN Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, as well as representatives of the Minsk City Executive Committee participated in the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition together with community organizations of people living with HIV. The opening ceremony was hosted by Svetlana Borovskaya, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador in Belarus.
In English, the International Remembrance Day is referred to as International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. In the international title there is no “victim” word. This definition, like the phrase “AIDS is the plague of the XX, XXI century”, is a legacy from more than 30 years ago, when people did not know the ways of HIV transmission, and the disease was untreatable and was considered a death verdict. Today it is well known that HIV infection is a chronic disease. Due to the emerging opportunities for antiretroviral therapy, the quality of life with HIV can be maintained, provided that people adhere to the doctor’s recommendations and rules of responsible and safe behavior.
Organizers of the photo exhibition emphasize that HIV-positive people should not be called victims. The word “victim” symbolizes weakness and hopelessness, which is incompatible with an active lifestyle maintained by many people with a positive HIV status, including the heroes of the exhibition.