News Releases

"Access to Life" exhibition shows life-changing effect of free treatment available to AIDS patients in the developing world

08 July 2010

Berlin, 8 July 2010 – At a time when the economic crisis poses a huge challenge to the funding of global health needs, a groundbreaking exhibition opening on Thursday evening (July 8, 2010) in Berlin shows the revolutionary effect that access to antiretroviral treatment is having on the lives of AIDS patients across the world.

In a partnership of art, documentary and advocacy, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the world-renowned agency Magnum Photos sent eight of the world’s best-known photojournalists to document the transformative effects of treatment with antiretroviral drugs against AIDS on more than 30 individuals and their families in nine countries around the world. Their collective artistic interpretation is presented in the photo and multimedia exhibition “Access to Life”, which will be open to the public at the Berliner Congress Center, near Alexanderplatz, through July 29, 2010.

"The result impressed me. It documents the far-reaching changes, which the access to life-extending and life-enhancing HIV therapies has for people living with AIDS and for their social environment”, said Gudrun Kopp, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, who will join the Global Fund’s External Relations and Partnership Director, Dr. Christoph Benn, at the exhibition’s opening.

Germany is one of the largest donors to the Global Fund. Since 2002, the country has pledged US$ 1.2 billion. “Germany has become the Global Fund’s third largest donor and by bringing this exhibition to Berlin, we want to acknowledge this great support and to show the public some of the results of this German investment”, says Dr. Benn. “We are demonstrating that development assistance can have rapid, concrete results in saving lives and in building futures for millions of people.”

“Access to Life”, which also is presented through a large format book and a series of multimedia essays, features some of the world’s best known documentary photographers: Jim Goldberg, Eli Reed, Steve McCurry, Larry Towell, Jonas Bendiksen, Paolo Pellegrin, Alex Majoli and Gilles Peress. In India, Haiti, Mali, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland and Vietnam, the photographers followed more than thirty people at the point that they were beginning treatment for AIDS, and returned after four months to document the transformations the treatment had brought about.

The AIDS pandemic is the greatest public health challenge the world has ever faced, with a particularly devastating impact in many parts of the world where access to even basic health care is limited. Through carefully-monitored grants, the Global Fund supports treatment for 2.8 million AIDS patients, all of whom would die from the effects of AIDS within weeks or months had they not been provided access to free antiretroviral drugs.

“This exhibition gives these impressive numbers human faces by telling the stories of people we can relate to,” says Dr. Benn. “However, millions of people are still dying every year because they don’t have the access to treatment that the people displayed in this exhibition enjoy. This year, the Global Fund is seeking new funding to reach these people and enable us to save more lives. We are confident that Germany will continue to support the millions of patients in need by renewing its commitment to the Global Fund.”

A majority of The Global Fund’s resources come from donor governments. This year countries will pledge funding for the next three years (2011-2013) to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. On 5 October 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair a meeting of donor countries in New York dedicated to the Global Fund.

“Access to Life” is curated by Yolanda Cuomo, (Yolanda Cuomo Design). It has already been displayed in Washington DC, Madrid, Oslo, Rome and Oakland. From Berlin, Access to Life will travel to New York City, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Sydney.

Born HIV Free

At the exhibition, visitors will also have the opportunity to join the Born HIV Free campaign, originated and supported by Global Fund Ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Launched on 19 May 2010 in several languages, the campaign uses a set of innovative and imaginative animated films across digital and traditional media platforms to spread awareness about the opportunity the world has to eliminate HIV transmission from mother to child by 2015 and to generate support for this goal – and for the Global Fund’s wider mission of fighting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The campaign appeals to all viewers to show their support by signing their name on the campaign’s “virtual wall of support”. A computer will be available at the Berliner Congress Center for visitors to sign up and join the call for a world where all children are born HIV-free.

Access To Life
Thursday, 8 July 2010,
Opening at 19h
Berliner Congress Center
Alexanderstraβe 11, 10178 Berlin
Open through 29 July 2010, daily, from 12h-18h