SHAWNA photovoice project shares photos and findings in exhibition and publication

March 11, 2019   |   Blog

Since 2017, a CGSHE team led by Dr. Andrea Krüsi, Lulu Gurney and Flo Ranville working in partnership with YouthCO, the Afro-Canadian Positive Network of BC, Oak Tree Clinic and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN), has been working with women living with HIV (WLWH) to document in innovative and creative ways that impacts of criminalization, stigma and discrimination in their lives. The SHAWNA photovoice project employed photography, collage and participatory analysis to highlight and illustrate these experiences. In September 2018, the project culminated in an exhibition and photo book launch event at a local Vancouver art space.

The Canadian legal approach to criminalization of HIV non-disclosure is very strict, in spite of medical advances and existing evidence. The laws that are used to criminalize HIV non-disclosure are often cited as being protective for women, when in fact they are not effective tools in HIV prevention and expose WLWH to higher risk of violence.

In addition to the exhibition and photo book, the team recently published an article titled “Through Our Eyes” in the journal Medicine Anthropology Theory. Through the project, women shared images of important people, places and spaces in their daily lives, and provided narratives and insights. This work represents a contribution to a growing body of work that aims to eliminate stigma against people living with HIV, and support evidence-based policy shift and legal reform.