"Pictures That Speak": Photographic Exhibition on Living With HIV/AIDS In Mid-Missouri

5 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, April 17 2012 Apr 17, 2012 Tuesday, April 17, 2012 5:52:00 PM CDT April 17, 2012 in News
By: Yao Fu

COLUMBIA - An HIV/AIDS-themed photographic exhibit opened Tuesday afternoon at the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services.

The "Pictures That Speak", exhibit features photography taken by eight men living with HIV/AIDS in Mid-Missouri. It sheds light on their life experiences, challenges, strengths, ideas, as well as their hopes and aspirations of fighting with the disease.

According to one of the organizers, Michelle Teti, assistant professor of University of Missouri, these photographers who participate in a photographic project met in groups to discuss their work and decide to hold this exhibit to share their experiences and educate the community about HIV/AIDS.  

"We hope that this exhibit will raise people's awareness of HIV/AIDS. We need to support each other." One photographer said.

Melissa Fritts is a HIV case manager who works to help HIV/AIDS-infected patients to get medical resources. She came to this exhibit saying it is a great way to keep people thinking about this disease.

"These pictures are really moving. Some of them shows the way that these people have been treated. I felt sort of sadness because there's so much stigma that still goes on." Fritts said.

Fritts met a lot of HIV/AIDS patients during her work. She says this exhibit will also benefit them. "People living with HIV/AIDS have faced a lot of stigma everyday, but (a) project like this can help them overcome that. It gives them a chance to express their voice and fight back against the virus."

The exhibit is organized by Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services and the University of Missouri.

Many visitors, include Fritts, think the idea of expressing through images is amazing. "Pictures can communicate a lot of things that words just cannot really do." They said.

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