Every life matters: Key population photo exhibition at the EECAAC conference in Moscow


Baby of Linara. Photo: Chris de Bode

Linara, Thuan and David invite you to step into their world and experience what it is like to be a female drug user in Kyrgyzstan, a male sex worker in Vietnam or a young gay man in Uzbekistan. The exhibition features a unique combination of photos made by these community members themselves and complementary photos that were made by award winning photographer Chris de Bode. Through their photo stories, which will be displayed at the 5th Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference (EECAAC), Bridging the Gaps wants to create more visibility about the challenges they encounter and the HIV risks they face.

“The doctors gave me pills for an abortion and told me my baby will be a freak. But my son is perfectly healthy.”

The spread of HIV will not be stopped and reversed without a relentless focus on key populations

Key populations (sex workers, people who use drugs, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) are hit hard and disproportionately by HIV, with a million new infections a year – that’s half the total worldwide. It is often difficult for them to have any control over the risks they face. They have to deal with a toxic mix of legal, political and social factors which can institutionalise stigma and social exclusion.

David is a young gay man from Uzbekistan. He was forced to leave his country because of his sexual orientation. As a refugee he did not have permission to work. He is now an activist for LGBT rights.

Thuan lives in Vietnam and is a male sex worker in Ho Chi Minh City. His family doesn’t know he is a sex worker. They do know he is gay.

Linara is living with her husband in Kyrgyzstan. She is 42 years old and has a long history of drug use. During her recent pregnancy she faced a lot of discrimination.

“He told my friend that homosexuals don’t get free treatment. He threatened him with criminal prosecution and imprisonment.”


The 5th Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference (EECAAC) will take place from 23-25 March 2016 in Moscow, Russia. The conference will bring together 2500 scientists, experts, healthcare professionals, policy makers and civil society representatives who will exchange best practices and jointly strategize about how to achieve the UNAIDS target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

When: 23-25 March 2016

Where: World Trade Center Moscow, Russia

Bridging the Gaps

The photo exhibition was developed by Bridging the Gaps. Bridging the Gaps is a joint initiative of more than 90 grassroots organisations which collaborate with four Dutch non-governmental organisations, namely Aids Fonds, Aids Foundation East-West (AFEW), Federation of Dutch Associations for the Integration of Homosexuality (COC), and Mainline, and with five global networks, which are the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Global Forum of MSM and HIV (MSMGF) and Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). Together we address the human rights violations and challenges faced by sex workers, people who use drugs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, in accessing much-needed HIV and health services.

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