Women at risk often turn to ARAS, the Romanian Association for Aids Prevention Work, one of the few organisations that go the distance to reach those in need, deep in the notorious slums of Bucharest. ARAS runs an ambulance service which goes on a daily basis around the city, offering medical testing, syringe exchange and testing.
Though joining the EU as a member state has brought prosper to many sectors, a new reality has landed: Romania is no longer eligible for the international funding allotted to developing nations for causes such as the HIV prevention work done by the ambulance crew. Just last summer, ARAS was forced from their circuit for six weeks due to critical underfunding, resulting in a vicious wave of HIV infections amongst the most vulnerable. Unable to obtain syringes from safe sources, some users were forced to turn to those who attempt the petty trade of selling used and dirty syringes amongst the community with
In a country whose public is largely opposed to such harm reduction work, ARAS remains a lonely light scanning the streets of Bucharest week in and week out. From the Shadows is an ongoing project which documents my ongoing meetings with both the ambulance crew and those whose lives depend on them.