18 Nov 2006 13:20:06 GMT
JOHANNESBURG, 18 November (IRIN) - "And life goes on ..." concludes the preface to 'Conversations, HIV and the Family', a publication that aims to place HIV/AIDS where it belongs - in the midst of real life itself, with all its nuances and grit.
By documenting the personal accounts of families intimately affected by HIV/AIDS, Conversations, a project of South Africa's Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE), cuts through the layers of science, politics and ideology that effectively distance the epidemic from real people and inadvertently perpetuate stigma.
Some of the 12 families featured took part in a lively launch of the project at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, recently. Although still faced with daunting challenges, a couple of those profiled spoke of how their lives had been paradoxically enriched by their journeys with HIV and AIDS.
Valencia Mofokeng, who together with her large blended family runs an AIDS organisation in Orange Farm, said the project had given her a much-needed platform to communicate with others in similar situations: "We people with HIV/AIDS don't have a place to express our feelings. We can talk to our counselors but we need to share our feelings with others too."
"I'm a mother of orphans," said Seipati Mtsi, also featured in Conversations. "I'm their mother and they trust me. They put their life in me. Now I know a lot about HIV/AIDS. I was scared to touch someone. Now I can kiss, share a plate, live with people with HIV/AIDS. Thank God for giving me that strength."
The family portraits, by photographer Giséle Wulfsohn, who has documented HIV/AIDS in South Africa for almost 20 years, show the intimacy of every day family life. These are accompanied by personal testimonies of individuals and family members who describe how their lives have been stretched and altered by HIV and AIDS.
The families are typical in their many variations – nuclear, single parent, extended, homosexual; and their stories document the gamut of human experience. Selinah Mashinini, a single HIV-positive mother who lives with her sister and children in Alexandra township; Christo Greyling, an HIV-positive Dutch Reformed minister who left the church to form an AIDS ministry and went on to marry and have two children after discovering his status; Naboe Abrahams, pregnant and widowed at the age of 15, who has since married again and had more children with a man who still refuses to test.
Sadly, one of those featured in the project, Peter Busse, who chose close friends and his goddaughter for his "family portrait", died earlier this year. Busse, a well-know and well-loved gay activist, threw a huge party last year to celebrate living with HIV for 20 years.
"Living with HIV/AIDS is glossed over in statistics, reports and statements. Seldom do we hear, see, or understand AIDS in the words of those whom it touches most intimately," reads the Conversations preface.
Funded by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and supported by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Conversations project has other components: a mobile photographic display, featuring portraits of the families with quotations from their testimonies, and workshops for organisations, churches and other groups that use social therapy as a creative vehicle to start dialogue and facilitate understanding on how living with HIV impacts on both the family and the workplace.
Betsi Pendry, social therapist and project member commented: "After 25 years into the epidemic there has not been much progress regarding exploratory as opposed to didactic conversations about how HIV/AIDS is lived and experienced by those most affected by it.
"We need to have conversations which explore and allow for the complexity, the contradictions and the confrontations; to have conversations which move beyond a one dimensional characterisation of HIV/AIDS as only a tragedy; to move beyond talking to people about the ABCs; and to move beyond having conversations which are fraught with ideological and moral agendas. We need to be able to have conversations about the range of other issues that come up as we live with HIV and AIDS as a daily part of our collective lives."
The project attempts to do just this by showing that "people continue to grow, be intimate, love and fall in love, have sex and enjoy sex, experience loss and death, sadness and experience hope and renewal", said Pendry. "They show that people create new families, plan for the future and the future of their children and that they are ordinary people."
pg/oa 本人认领，48小时未交，其他战友自由认领 本人退出认领这篇，还请其他战友继续认领 本人认领，48小时未交，其他战友自由认领 SOUTH AFRICA: Life, love and HIV
18 Nov 2006 13:20:06 GMT
作者:admin@医学,生命科学 2011-05-08 05:11