AIDS

AIDS

AIDS

Back in 2005 I got one of my most challenging assignments so far. Image, one of the top magazines in Finland, wanted to send me to Namibia to photograph and write a story. 

I joined a press trip organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland. The magazine let me choose the theme for my feature. After some research I decided that I wanted to tell about HIV/AIDS epidemic. It was a huge issue: roughly 20% of Namibia's population was HIV-positive, a figure so high that it reflected on the country's economy.

I made a portrait series of people who were affected by HIV/AIDS epidemic one way or another. A culture of stigmatizing prevailed, so the most difficult part was to find someone who was publicly HIV-positive. With help from Finnish Consulate and Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission I found a lady who had courage to show her face and say "I'm HIV-positive".

During the week-long trip I visited slums and even interviewed a witch doctor, but the most unforgettable experience happened in a remote hospital. I had waited for the whole morning for an HIV-positive mother to bring her 1-year-old baby for tests. Finally, the doctor asked me to enter his room where mother and baby were already waiting to hear the results.

The baby was not infected.

Read the story (PDF opens in new window)