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U.S. News

Photos Tell of Life With HIV: Exhibit Aims to Ease Stigma of the Disease

November 19, 2010

The world through the camera lens of eight men and women living with HIV is on display through Dec. 12 at Madison's Overture Center Playhouse Gallery.

The project was something "HIV-related that wasn't the typical gala dinner or AIDS walk, something where I could really be open to the mystery to what would come out of this," said photographer Sonja Ortman.

None of the artists is a professional photographer, but all met regularly over six weeks to learn photo skills from three professionals recruited for the project.

"There may be people that recognize me that know me from my office building," said Ortman, who works in Milwaukee. "And that's OK: Give it a face, because it could be anybody."

Ortman is one of the three photographers in the show willing to sign their names to their work. "Ultimately, some people chose not to use their names because they do not feel that it is safe for them to do so," said Heidi Nass, one of the show's photographers and a patient-advocate for the HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program at UW-Health. "They fear for their jobs in some cases. They fear judgment. They fear rejection."

The exhibition, "Living with HIV/AIDS: Perspective Through the Lens," is being held in conjunction with World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. A discussion entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight: The US HIV/AIDS Epidemic," is planned for Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; a reception will follow.

For more information, visit

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from:
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison)
11.14.2010; Gayle Worland

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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