News Releases

Renowned Photographic Exhibition ‘Access to Life’ in Australia for World AIDS Day

26 November 2012

Documents the life-changing impact of free treatment being made available to AIDS patients throughout the developing world.

Sydney Australia - On the occasion of World AIDS Day, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, in partnership with Magnum Photos, will launch the world renowned photographic exhibition ' Access to Life' at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. The opening of the exhibition in Sydney, its first visit to Australia, coincides with the 30th anniversary of the first reported case of HIV in Australia.

The exhibition features images of more than 40 people in ten countries around the world, who are accessing antiretroviral treatment for AIDS, bringing to Australia the innovative work of Magnum photographers.

Sydney will be the tenth city in the world to show ' Access to Life' , but the very first to add Papua New Guinea - Australia's closest neighbour and the country facing the largest HIV epidemic in the Asia-Pacific region. These most recent images were taken by acclaimed British photographer Chris Steele-Perkins in August this year.

Visiting Australia, the Global Fund Board Chair, Simon Bland said, "It is an exciting time to be in Australia - not only because of the launch of an incredibly moving exhibition of how access to treatment gives life - but because of the changing prospects for those who are living with HIV every day. From a situation of complete despair more than 10 years ago, we are now in a world where a significant volume of funding has turned the tide of the AIDS pandemic.'

Mr. Bland added "Australia has been a strong supporter and partner to the Global Fund, and the personal stories told through Access to Life will hopefully demonstrate to visitors how Australian aid is helping make a big difference to the lives of people with HIV in these countries.'

Since 2004, Australia has provided AUD 250 million to the Global Fund in addition to the funding that the Australian government provides on bilateral overseas aid programs in the Asia-Pacific region. "These contributions demonstrate the Australian Government's commitment to ensuring an effective, proactive response to HIV and AIDS, not only at home and in the Asian Pacific region, but also worldwide.' said Mr. Bland.

Mr. Steele-Perkins said: "Papua New Guinea was a new experience for me. I had never been there before and it is an intriguing country in many ways. I met a number of people suffering from HIV who were generous with their help and open about their condition. I also met the dedicated medical staff and care-givers working against huge obstacles to make access to treatment possible. And although there is always tragedy, pain, loneliness, fear, misinformation and rejection wherever fatal illness is to be found, there was always a sense, lighting the darker corners, of hope and the affirmation of life.".

The Global Fund was created to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases - AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria - and to direct resources to areas of greatest need.

Through ongoing financial support from the world's developed country governments and many other stakeholders across the globe, the Global Fund currently provides one quarter of funds to fight HIV and AIDS worldwide. Today, this translates into the provision of free life-saving antiretroviral treatment for 3.6 million patients worldwide, allowing people who were otherwise ill at risk of death to live normal, healthy lives.

Closer to Australia's own borders, all eligible countries in the Asia-Pacific region have been provided with grants from the Global Fund since it began in 2002. Of the 24 per cent of total approved funding (US$5.4 billion, or AUD 5.2 billion) in the Asia-Pacific region, US$307 million (AUD 297 million) is being dedicated to Pacific Island countries - funding programs that prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

In Australia there are 17,444 people living with HIV. Worldwide, there are currently 33 million people living with HIV according to UNAIDS, and at the end of 2011, 8 million of the nearly 15 million people who are in need life saving treatment currently receive it.


WHAT : Access to life and HIV & AIDS 30 years on: the Australian story

WHEN : 27 November 2012 - 9 June 2013, 10.00am to 5.00pm (except Christmas Day)

WHERE : Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney

HOW MUCH: General admission $12 adult, $6 child, $8 student/concession, $30 family. Powerhouse Museum members and children under 4 years are admitted free.