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Millions of people in Asia suffer from HIV/AIDS, and millions more lives are affected. Mother to child transmission of the disease, usually after the man contracts AIDS from a sex worker and then transmits it to his wife, has produced children infected with the disease numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Families are torn apart and lives are ruined, all by a disease that could be controlled to high degree with simple education as well as proper medicine and medical facilities. One of the primary reasons for families to be thrust into poverty in the developing world is when one member becomes ill, especially if it's the bread winner of the family and they are infected with illnesses like HIV/AIDS.

 

As a photojournalist it is always difficult to photograph subject matter that you are closely emotionally tied to, yet that emotional tie also allows you a passion for the work and a sense of purpose in documenting it. Photographing people dying from AIDS—the same disease that I lost my father to—has been a personal mission of mine, mainly because I hope to create awareness that may save others from the pain of living with the disease, dying from it or losing a loved one to it.

 

When you know what it is like for someone to suffer through AIDS in the Western world, watching people suffer through it in the absolute worst of conditions is beyond difficult. To see people sleeping on hospital floors, coated in flies with barely enough energy to open their eyes to look at you, it is hard to bring the camera up to your face and shoot. But this is my job; it is what I have chosen to do and I have done so because I believe in the power of the still image to effect change.

 

This story was photographed between 2004 and 2005 and re-edited in 2009.

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Taken on May 19, 2009