Photo Essay Highlights Barriers to Care, Quality of Life for Marginalized Women Living With HIV

Based on photovoice research being conducted by the SHAWNA Project team in partnership with the Afro-Canadian Positive Network of BC (ACPNET-BC), a new photo-essay highlighting the photography and narratives of African immigrant and refugee women living with HIV has just been published in the Medicine Anthropology Theory journal.

This essay is based on a series of sessions carried out in 2016 with five African immigrant and refugee women who are living with HIV. Through photography and storytelling, participants explored themes including the criminalization of the non-disclosure of HIV status, trauma, violence, poverty and the intersections between stigma relating to HIV and racial discrimination.  

SHAWNA photovoice sessions are ongoing, and all sessions are co-facilitated by SHAWNA Peer Research Associates (Flo, Patience and Lulu).  To date we have completed three cycles of sessions with different groups of marginalized women.  In addition to the work with African newcomer women which is the subject of this new report, the team has also carried out photovoice sessions with Indigenous women through two support groups run by Oak Tree Clinic (hosted at Positive Women’s Network) and with the SHAWNA Positive Women's Advisory Board.  

We are very much looking forward to holding sessions with trans women and youth this fall/winter, in connection with YouthCO and other community partners!

Photo credit: Excerpt of a photo collage by CeeCee