Unite - people living with HIV: the power of collaboration

A look back at some of the key moments in The Union's work over the last year.

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In 2005 Myanmar’s HIV epidemic was classed by the World Health Organization as one of the most serious in Asia. There was little funding for HIV treatment or prevention, either from government or overseas aid. The same year, TOTAL E&P (TOTAL) provided US$ 200,000 funding for The Union to treat people co-infected with TB-HIV in Mandalay. This became the Integrated HIV Care (IHC) Programme.

From small beginnings – treating 190 people in 2005 – the IHC model has become a key component of Myanmar’s national HIV strategy. There are now 44,000 people enrolled in the programme, across five regions of the country.

IHC patients receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) and medicines to treat opportunistic infection free of charge, at clinics that screen for TB, monitor CD4 count and HIV viral load, and provide expert counselling.

The IHC model was designed to invest in the infrastructure and expertise of Myanmar’s health system, with the National AIDS Programme and National TB Programme as key partners. At all levels the work involves collaboration between Union staff, the public sector and civil society.

This exhibition tells the story of the lives this dynamic project has touched, and pays tribute to the unique partnerships that have made it possible. It celebrates a decade of unwavering commitment from TOTAL and illustrates the astonishing impact of a responsive funding relationship.

Photographer Jan Schmidt-Whitley spent time documenting patients, families, clinicians and volunteers with the support of The Union Myanmar Office and The Union Communications team. The project was directed by José Luis Castro, Executive Director.

Special thanks go to all the people who had their photographs taken and shared their stories.