A new photography exhibition by Edo Zollo is opening today in London, in this blog, Edo tells us a bit more about his inspiration for the project:

I am Edo Zollo, a photographer happily and successfully based in London for 12 years, though I was born and raised in the south of Italy. I followed in my father’s footsteps as a professional photographer and I have childhood memories of assisting him by carrying his bulky equipment around.

Stand Tall, Get Snapped: 30 HIV+ people is my latest photo project.

The creation of the project came after my experience of taking PEP after exposure to the HIV virus, following impulsive unprotected sex with a partner who I knew was HIV+. The medication had severe and very unpleasant side effects, which aroused intense feeling and speculations on my part, as to what it must be like to actually have a positive HIV diagnosis.

As a direct result, I was determined to undertake this project with the intention to expose the still widely held misconception, that HIV is largely restricted to gay men and people of black African origin. In addition to that I wanted to offer to affected individuals a unique opportunity to share their experiences and have their positive status recognised in a very public way by being included in a photographic exhibition.

Finally, as you may be aware, this year marks the 30th anniversary since Terrence Higgins, the first man to die of AIDS in the UK, was officially recognised by the NHS and it is also the official recognition of HIV and AIDS as an epidemic by the American Medical Authority.

Stand Tall, Get Snapped is at the Reading Room in Frith Street, Soho,London from today, 19 November 2012 until January 3 2013. You can follow the project on twitter at: @stgsproject

If you are worried you may have HIV, then the only way to know is to get tested, Better2Know has clinics across the UK, including many in London where you can get a result in 20 minutes from just 26 days after any incident you are concerned about.
So what better way to celebrate this anniversary with 30 people proud to stand tall? Edo Zollo concludes:

Over the past year I have been busy across the UK. I have travelled from Glasgow to Bournemouth, photographing 30 people living with HIV, from young to old, male and female, white and non-white, gay and straight. The most recently diagnosed was 3 months and the longest, 27 years living with HIV. I visited the 30 subjects in their home locations across the UK, photographing them within their settings, intended to illustrate their individual stories.

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