Focusing a Lens on HIV/AIDS
Irish photographer Aidan O’Neill dedicated the past six months of his life to raising awareness and funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS through his beautiful photographs. He became inspired to make a difference after meeting mothers2mothers (m2m) in 2014 during the Victoria Beckham Charity Sale on THEOUTNET.COM, in which the fashion designer and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador sold 600 items from her wardrobe to raise funds for m2m. Aidan got to know m2m while photographing Ms. Beckham for the campaign, and was so moved by the organisation’s work that he vowed to support its mission any way he could.
Several months later, he joined m2m as the official photographer for the inaugural Cycle to Zero Challenge in Swaziland and South Africa. It was there that he began his documentary of women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, and upon returning back home – decided his time in Swaziland was not complete. In July 2105, he returned to the country, which has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, to document the heroic struggle of individuals and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS, as well as organisations working to make a difference.
Just after World AIDS Day, in early December, Aidan turned his lens on m2m, spending the day with several Community Mentor Mothers as they traveled around villages, providing support and education to women at their homes. Here is what he wrote on his website, ARTAID.WORLD, about his experience:
‘On Wednesday I got to spend the day traveling with m2m Community Mentor Mothers. The m2m mission is to impact the health of mothers by putting them at the heart of improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. m2m’s Mentor Mother Model empowers mothers living with HIV, through education and employment, as role models to help other women access essential services and medical care. My first introduction to Swaziland was through m2m, and it was the amazing work of Mentor Mothers that inspired me to see if I could make a fraction of a difference that these women are making on the world. Spending a day in their company and seeing the impact they are having on so many families is very humbling. Please visit m2m.org to learn more about this amazing organisation.’