HIV in View
ViiV Healthcare & Shutterstock Team Up for a Photographic Mapping of Living With HIV
by Hank Trout

On December 1, 2020, World AIDS Day, ViiV Healthcare and Shutterstock Studios announced that they have collaborated on a first-of-its-kind online photo gallery and resource, “HIV in View,” to increase awareness around HIV and break down barriers to stigma that still exist. Recognizing that “stigma remains a stubbornly persistent threat to the health and well-being of many people living with HIV” despite the many advances in prevention and treatment, the project aims to challenge people’s negative assumptions about HIV by highlighting a truer picture of the lives and experiences of PLHIV.

Stock photo caption: Portrait of a healthy and happy middle-aged African woman living with HIV

Hoping to correct the world’s perception of HIV and to discard harmful, outdated stereotypes, people living with HIV from four countries (the UK, Kenya, Uruguay, and Portugal) volunteered to be photographed for the gallery, depicting healthy PLHIV engaged in ordinary day-to-day activities—taking a walk in the park, working on a laptop, applying makeup, hugging a friend. The photos were curated with the support of Shutterstock’s global network of over one million photographers and designers. “We have been working with Shutterstock on building the collection throughout 2020,” a spokesperson for ViiV Healthcare told A&U. “The initial gallery was published on World AIDS Day 2020 and we are now exploring how we can expand the gallery in 2021 to continue our journey of shifting the world’s perception of HIV.”

The four countries in which volunteers were recruited “were selected for the photoshoots to represent the diversity of people living with HIV across the world. The selection process ensured that each person living with HIV photographed had a different story to tell and were representative of a variety of communities, including LATAM [Latin American], Europe and Africa. Our local teams reached out to individuals we thought would like to be involved in the collection and who might support our ambition to deliver a repository of high-resolution images depicting what it means to live with HIV today. They then worked directly with Shutterstock on their respective photoshoots.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Doreen Moracha, an HIV advocate from Nairobi, Kenya and one of the first people to be photographed for the project, said in the project’s press release, “I am so proud to be one of the first people to be photographed for the ‘HIV in View’ gallery and to be part of a movement for change to represent real people living with HIV, their stories and experiences. Until the world sees HIV for what it really is, we are not going to make the progress we need to disrupt stereotypes of what it’s like to live with HIV. If my photographs can change just one person’s opinion of what it means to live with HIV today, I will know we are a step closer to reaching this goal.”

Stock photo caption: A happy and healthy senior man living with HIV standing on a pier in Portugal

Deborah Waterhouse, CEO, ViiV Healthcare, said in a press release, “For too long, the public has been presented with outdated representations of what it is to live with HIV. Working with Shutterstock has underlined how a lack of widely accessible, present-day HIV imagery continues to hold us back. With the launch of the ‘HIV in View’ gallery, people across the world can now download authentic photography for free. As a company, we are making a pledge to use images of real people living with HIV across all our platforms, where applicable, moving forward and we encourage others to do the same. Living with HIV has changed, and we invite the world to help us show this.”

The anti-stigma project offers more than just a repository the photographs of PLHIV. All of the images in the gallery are free for individuals and organizations to download and use in most projects, campaigns and communications designed to increase awareness around HIV and break down stigma. Some uses will require an “enhanced license”; 100% of the proceeds from license fees will be donated to (RED), a non-profit organization helping fund the fight to end AIDS. Details regarding license fees are available on the project’s website, https://www.shutterstock.com/license-comparison.

“There is always a need for authentic and fresh imagery accurately depicting what it’s like to live with HIV,” said Michael Carfagnini, General Manager, Global Shutterstock Studios, said. “This project and the various teams involved both at Shutterstock and ViiV Healthcare truly demonstrated the impact passion brings to creative projects, and we saw the same quality from our contributors and people living with HIV featured in the imagery.”

Stock photo caption: A young woman living with HIV embracing her friend at a park in Nairobi, Kenya

As for the future, the ViiV spokesperson told A&U, “We would like to see the gallery expand and represent the many different people living with HIV around the world. Our ambition is to continue the collaboration next year and we are working with Shutterstock and local ViiV Healthcare teams to explore how we can do this.”


To find out more about HIV in View, go to https://www.shutterstock.com/explore/viiv-collaboration.


Hank Trout is a Puschcart Prize-nominated writer and a Senior Editor of A&U.