The centerpiece of the federal government’s war against HIV/AIDS bears the name Ryan White.
The public might not remember him without a little context. A hemophiliac who was diagnosed with AIDS at age 13, White drew international attention when he not only had to cope with the disease but also had to wage a legal fight to attend school with his classmates in Kokomo, Ind., following his diagnosis. He died in 1984 at the age of 18 after becoming a poster child for more compassion, counseling and medical care for those facing AIDS-related illnesses.
More than a million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About a quarter of them are women, and in St. Louis and throughout the country, African-American women are disproportionately affected.
An HIV diagnosis can lead not just to debilitating medical problems, but to social stigma and isolation. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra reports, a photography project is giving some HIV-positive women a new way to look at their disease and its challenges.