Illuminating Life with HIV

September 11, 2012

Jeff Berry is editor of Positively Aware, a Chicago-based magazine for people living with or affected by HIV.

By Jeff Berry, editor of Positively Aware, “A Day with HIV” co-founder

Last September, a collection of 120 online photographs gave a face to hundreds of thousands of people in North America who live with HIV every day. This portrait of people affected by HIV — gay and straight, negative and positive, friends, family and co-workers — confirmed what photographer August Sander once said, “In photography, there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.”

For the third year Positively Aware is hosting its “A Day with HIV” photography public awareness program by asking people around the world on one single day, Friday, Sept. 21, to shed light on the realities of living with HIV. On this day, people will grab a digital camera and “take a shot” to chronicle a time in their day that tells their story of living with HIV.


Over the past two years, the power of these images — of people at work, families at play, friends and lovers caring for one another — demonstrates a collective resolve to say “this is who we are and this is how we cope — and live.”

People were very generous in sharing a moment in their “day with HIV”: Velietta Dickens Rogers at her easel painting; A “pos” and “neg” couple kissing one another; Amber holding a day’s regiment of HIV drugs in her hand; Dab showing off his “Dab the AIDS bear;” Two-year old Philip, infected with HIV at birth, smiling into the camera; and the Rev. Andreana Ingram, a Lutheran minister, displaying her “HIV is Alive and Well” t-shirt.

Taken together these images create a remarkable patchwork of stories about HIV.

On Friday, Sept. 21, you can share a moment in your daily life through a photograph that tells your story.  You can submit that image to the “A Day with HIV” photo essay campaign at Many of these photographs will be featured on a special “A Day With HIV” web site with selected images featured in the Nov.-Dec. issue of Positively Aware.

“The task ahead for HIV-affected communities is to create bright futures worth living,” said David Ernesto Munar, president/CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). “Many people with HIV are embracing life and its challenges with vigor, conviction and honesty.  A Day with HIV celebrates their example and their humanity.”

The hundreds of photographs we collect and share will tell the untold stories of people living with HIV and give meaning to all our lives.

Join us on Sept. 21 and take your best shot.

Categorized under Inside Story.

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