Through Positive Eyes

A global photographic collaboration with HIV-positive individuals around the world, award-winning photographer Gideon Mendel, and the UCLA Art & Global Health Center.

Through Positive Eyes [] tells the story of HIV/AIDS at the end of the third decade of the epidemic, when potent antiretroviral medication has been devised, but when treatment access is far from universal. Through Positive Eyes is an attempt to address key themes of the AIDS epidemic: widespread stigma, extreme social inequality, and limited access to lifesaving medication. The project is based on the belief that challenging stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS is the most effective method for combating the epidemic—and that art is a powerful way to do this. HIV-positive people take part in this unique initiative, creating powerful personal photo essays. From these images, we create local and international advocacy materials including exhibitions, short films, and website. Read more about Through Positive Eyes at

View a selection of the stories from around the world:

Alejandro, Mexico City

I am an electrician and I have been living with HIV for the past 15 years. That afternoon when I got the news, I was in shock. I left the doctor’s office and wandered aimlessly along the streets, al...
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Cida, Rio de Janeiro

My name is Maria Aparecida Lemos; I prefer to be called Cida Lemos. I am 54 years old, I live in Rio, and I am a person living with AIDS. I have been infected since 2000. I never thought that ...
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Pleasure, Johannesburg

In the late 1990s I wanted to purchase a house and was told that I needed to have an insurance policy. When I went to purchase that policy they said, “You need to test for AIDS.” I had the ...
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Jazmine, Los Angeles

Back in 2008, when I was 16, I was having stomach problems. I went to the hospital and the doctor said I had a cyst on my ovary and he was going to remove it. When he did the surgery, ...
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D'Angelo, Washington, D.C.

My name is D’Angelo. I’m 22 years old. I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, moved to D.C. in 2007, and I currently reside in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with my best friend. Me and my mother used to be very c...
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Suman, Mumbai

I got married when I was sixteen. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was tested for HIV and found out I was positive. My husband already knew, because after his previous marriage, he started drinking ...
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Bee, Bangkok

My real name is Thanakorn Poungploy but my nickname is Bee. I am 32 years old, from Rachaburi in western Thailand. Some people accept my being a lady boy. I have felt like this since I was a child. ...
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Maureen, London

My name is Maureen. I come from Zimbabwe. But now I live in London and I’m British. I used to take myself as the perfect one, but when I came to the UK, I started losing weight. I ...
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