'I applaud the people who had the courage to educate us on their journey and how they conquered and overcame so much.'
Photographer and social justice activist Gideon Mendel has for many years documented the HIV epidemic and the daily battles of people living with the disease. Mendel was there in the early days of the South African epidemic, documenting the lives of those at the coalface of the battle for access to lifesaving treatment.
His latest book, Through Positive Eyes, is a collaborative photo-storytelling project by 130 people living with HIV and Aids around the world. All have participated in workshops led by Mendel, with photo educator Crispin Hughes, and David Gere, director of the Art & Global Health Centre at the University of California - Los Angeles.
The project chronicles a very particular moment in the epidemic, when effective treatment is available to some, not all, and when the enduring stigma associated with HIV and Aids has become entrenched, a major roadblock to both prevention and treatment. Maverick Citizen recently published extracts from the book.
Below, Vuyokazi Gonyela, living with HIV and general secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, reviews the book.
The book is a reflection...