Portraits of Americans with HIV and AIDS
A Touring Exhibit of Photographs and Text

Susan Rodriguez

"More than likely I got infected through my husband, but I don't think that's relevant. My husband was very sick and he got an AIDS diagnosis. So my children and I got tested...." (exhibit narrative excerpt: Focus on Living)

FOCUS ON LIVING: Portraits of Americans with HIV and AIDS, showcases sixteen Americans living with HIV and AIDS. This exhibit offers a powerful HIV/AIDS education resource for communities. FOCUS ON LIVING is the work of Roslyn Banish photographer/writer and author of four books exploring human issues by combining photographs and text. FOCUS ON LIVING is based on the book, Focus on Living, (U. Mass Press) with introduction by Paul A. Volberding, M.D., Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

FOCUS ON LIVING travels nationwide to schools (8-12,) colleges and universities, health and social welfare agencies, medical schools, public libraries, community centers, museums, conferences, hospitals, workplaces, and places of worship.

Podcast PBS - WVIA FM radio interview with exhibit creator, Roslyn Banish. Courtesy, Erika Funke, WVIA-FM
Click here

" I know every time I passed by the exhibit, there were always people standing there looking at the photos and reading the stories ... and seemed truly captivated, no matter what time of day or night it was, sometimes into the wee hours of the night." —Deputy Project Director, PSA, for 2008 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Meeting and 11th Annual Clinical Update, Washington, DC. This meeting was co-sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM).

“The “Focus on Living - Portrait of AIDS” exhibit was very well received by the student body.  It was a very powerful and personable way to reach young people regarding AIDS. . . . This exhibit enabled the student to be the seeker of knowledge, rather than a passive recipient of it.”
—Director, Student Health Department,
University of Minnesota, Crookston, Minnesota

"We had nothing but good responses to the exhibit. Thank you so much for sharing it with us."
—Health Center, Hastings College, Hastings, Nebraska

"Focus on Living was a great way for the students to personalize HIV/AIDS and really understand how serious it is. The message that 'HIV does not discriminate' is blatantly obvious with this exhibit. As students would
walk into the room where the exhibit was displayed, they would stop talking. It was that powerful. The message of the exhibit resonated with the students which is necessary for behavior change."

—Wellness Education Coordinator, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana