Down the winding roads on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar lies a shelter housing over 100 patients infected with HIV/AIDS.
With a lack of government support, and with NGOs frequently prevented from working in the country, the opposition party, the National League for Democracy, took action in 2002 by funding the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Centr in the South Dagon Township.
The government's figures put the number of adults who suffer from HIV at nearly 189,000 of the countries 60 million people. Only 43 percent of those affected are currently receiving treatment.
This July, Myanmar began receiving $160m from The Global Fund, in hopes of allowing the country to extend coverage to all who suffer from the illness. However, with the healthcare system ranked as the lowest of the 190 surveyed countries by the World Health Organization, Myanmar will likely struggle to provide necessary treatment.
It is vital that over the course of the next few years, as Myanmar develops, the fight against HIV/AIDS does not stagnate but becomes even more diligent.
In my life I’ve met people dealing with PTSD, drug addiction, displacement and disease, and I’m struck by the similarity in spirit between these people, despite the obvious divides. It has been a goal of mine to realize and mend this schism through photography, be it mental, physical or geographical in nature.
Documenting the lives of people around the world will help those who have no access to such situations understand that the subjects of my photographs could easily be their parent, sibling or partner. Despite differences in language, skin color, religion or way of life, we all share the same basic needs for empathy, understanding and acceptance.
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