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A Photovoice Project with Immigrants Living with HIV in Germany

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  • Jv Colonies And Colonization. Emigration And Immigration. International Migration

Abstract

Stigmatization and discrimination are main barriers for HIV prevention for vulnerable immigrants in Germany. “AfroLeben Voice” is a 2-year arts-based project using photovoice to explore the social impacts of stigmatization and discrimination of immigrants living with HIV in Germany and to evoke action for change. It is a joint project between Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe (the national AIDS service organization) and AfroLeben+ (a nation-wide self-help-group of immigrants living with HIV). The project is supported by a participatory researcher. Photovoice is a participatory method of community-based research. 12 members of AfroLeben+ were educated and supported to document their lived experiences with stigmatization and discrimination as people with HIV and immigrants in Germany. In 6 meetings they took pictures and told stories. Questions that guided them included “What makes you feel sad in Germany?” and “What gives you power in life?” 28 images and stories were collected. They helped to identify not only key forms of discrimination and stigma experienced by immigrants living with HIV in Germany but also their coping strategies and strengths. Participants were supported to create a photo book, posters, digital stories and a mobile exhibit which is to be shown at key locations in Germany in order to raise awareness for the social impacts of stigmatization and discrimination of immigrants living with HIV in Germany. The process of taking pictures and telling stories helped participants to reflect on their experience with stigmatization and discrimination as immigrant PWHA in Germany. It helped to create a critical dialogue and to share knowledge about personal and community coping strategies and desired change. It enables community members to participate in a variety of ways regardless of different abilities such as literacy level or language. It also enables communities to create campaigns which are more accessible, inclusive and address to people on many levels.

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