The Netherlands has among its population of 17,020,000 about 23,000 adults living with HIV, and the enviable level of fewer than 500 new infections per year, down from more than twice that in 2009. Among adult people living with HIV (PLHIV), 80% are on Antiretroviral therapy (ART), a figure rising steadily by about 3% per year at least since 2010.
The overall number of infected children is tiny, and 95% get ART. The country’s program to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is a success, averting virtually all infant cases.
The vast majority of HIV in the Netherlands is found among men who have sex with men (MSM), then migrants from high-prevalence countries, followed distantly by people who inject drugs (PWID). HIV infection is concentrated in the large cities.
Combating HIV/AIDS is a clearly stated aim of Dutch domestic and foreign policy, which it supports wholeheartedly. The levels of homophobia and stigma against people living with HIV (PLHIV) are low.
(Figures from UNAIDS, 2016)
30 years of hiv and aids
1982-2011, The Netherlands
Erwin Kokkelkoren followed and interviewed 30 people with HIV and AIDS, all living in the Netherlands.
Erik Smits portrayed the 30 men and women in their own domains.
Smits’s photography, together with quotations from Kokkelkoren’s stories, gives a unique picture of the human history of 30 years of HIV and AIDS in the Netherlands.
The dates with the portraits refer to the year when these people were confronted with their HIV or AIDS diagnoses.
Only 1982 is missing, the year of the first AIDS diagnosis… There are no survivors from this year.
In April 2012, all the stories and pictures appeared in the book “The Time There-After.”
Sadly, two men are no longer with us. Harrie (1992) and Nico (1999) have passed away since then.