Today, medical treatments help people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) have prolonged and ordinary lives, as well as prevent further transmission, but they can never kill the virus hiding within. Despite these advances, moral condemnation and discrimination against the disease continue. The consequences of this stigma are mental illness and distress, often generating greater suffering than the physiological disease itself. Until a true cure is found, shame, insecurity, and trauma will continue to afflict those diagnosed with HIV until our societies and communities change the ways in which we consider and support them.
Kairon Liu started his research with HIV in 2017 in Taiwan. The inspiration for Liu's project, Humans as Hosts is his best friend, alias Tree, who has recovered from betrayal and sorrow several times due to his affliction. The photographs and archives created by Liu and the participants he encounters through his daily life and practice make evident that all human beings are exposed to the virus. We are all human beings, and we continuously face this threat, physically and/or mentally.