In early 2009, I returned to India where, as a photography consultant, together with staff of Alliance, India, a global non-profit organization, we documented 40 representative families of 63,000 children, infected and/or affected by HIV, who are enrolled in their CHAHA program in four high incidence states. It was noted that, as the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to take its toll in India, the “Missing Generation” is becoming more obvious: more children are heading households and more grandparents are raising young children – many HIV+ - of sons and daughters lost to AIDS.
Also, it was quite evident that stigma and discrimination are major barriers to progress in dealing with HIV in India. Families “don’t tell” close relatives or neighbors and simply don’t discuss the source of obvious chronic illness for fear of being shunned by their community and/or having their children barred from attending school. India is years behind Africa in addressing stigma and discrimination, only compounded by the caste system. It is hoped that these and other images of the “Missing Generation” will generate compassion and concern beyond class and caste distinctions and create an opening for healing and acceptance of HIV as a chronic treatable disease.