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Ordinary lives, extraordinary stories - WHO, International HIV/AIDS Alliance & Christian Aid present faces of the HIV/AIDS epidemic
World Health Organization (WHO), International HIV/AIDS Alliance & Christian Aid
November 22, 2005

In collaboration with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Christian Aid, the World Health Organization (WHO) releases on its HIV/AIDS website "Voices of Hope" - photo stories of communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

A set of 13 photo stories of people living with HIV and AIDS in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America presents some of the real faces of the epidemic that, by the end of 2005, had infected 40.3 million people. More than 40% are women and 2.3 million are children.

The stories include powerful images by Don McCullin, one of the worlds' leading photo journalists, working in collaboration with Christian Aid; and Gideon Mendel, a well-known contemporary photo journalist, who documented community action on HIV and AIDS in collaboration with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Don McCullin recorded the destruction of lives and families decimated by HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Zambia. Some images, however, deliver a message of hope, of lives regained thanks to access to HIV treatment.

Judith Melby, of Christian Aid, a leading UK charity advocating for more support on HIV/AIDS in developing countries, says "These photographs confront us with the hard reality, not only of the unfolding human tragedy, but of how governments have the power to tackle HIV/AIDS, and we appeal they do."

In the photos by Gideon Mendel, people living with HIV and AIDS show that they are not just victims of misfortune, but a key part of the response to stop the spread and devastation of HIV and AIDS.

"These stories are full of compassion and courage and explain why and how, ordinary people can make a difference. They show why more support needs to be channelled to community responses," says Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

"They show people making a huge difference with very little support, and help us all understand what works in each community. They are the living proof that it can be done."

WHO, together with its international and national partners is working towards universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment, care and prevention. "These photos show us the real faces of HIV, the devastation it causes, and the reason why global commitment and action should be sustained," said Dr Jim Kim, HIV/AIDS Director of WHO.

For more information contact:

Tunga Namjilsuren
Telephone: +41 22 791 1073

Simon Moore
Head of Communications Team,
Telephone: +44 (0) 123 771 8744

Judith Melby
Telephone: +44 (0) 207 523 2408

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