Red Black White, de Nazik Armenakyan
Finalist of the 26th edition of the Luis Valtueña International Humanitarian Photography Award of Médicos del Mundo.
“Red Black White,” is a project about several women’s destinies that have changed dramatically due to the diagnosis of HIV, often acquired in marriage.
Women living with HIV in Armenia are ordinary citizens coming from traditional families. Due to poor socioeconomic conditions, many Armenian men spend a large part of the year working abroad, primarily in Russia. Due to circumstances such as lack of knowledge and the vulnerability of migrants, those men acquire STDs or HIV, which they transfer to their wives. Many women discover their condition after they become pregnant and get tested.
According to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (CJSC), there were 4,317 registered cases of HIV infection in March 2021 of which 30.6%, or 1,292, were females. Heterosexual transmission is the major route of disease spread, and 93.7% of women living with HIV acquired the infection from their husbands. The majority of cases were registered among women aged 20-29.
This disease is surrounded by silence and hostility. In Armenia, it is a very delicate subject to deal with, because it is not limited to HIV alone. It took me a long time to find a way to present the victims safely, without anyone being able to identify them.
By building trusting relationships, while going through doubts and fears, the project aims to give voice to these silent women and make visible the social injustice entangled in tradition, cultural codes, patriarchy, and lack of choice.
Yerevan, Armenia, 2020-2021