San José Hospice, San Pedro Sula. Honduras 1994

I returned briefly to the San José Hospice again in 1994. These colour photographs (digitised from 35mm colour transparencies) were taken at the hospice during April 1994.

The hospice is run by Jospice International a Liverpool based Catholic charity, which opened in 1991 and was specifically devoted to the care of AIDS patients.

Before the hospice opened many sufferers had been abandoned by the health authorities and their families, leaving them to fend for themselves on the city streets. Often described as the ‘living dead’, these people had suffered exclusion, lack of understanding, ignorance and fear from their fellow citizens. Many were never visited by family or friends at the hospice and were buried in unmarked graves.

Contracting the HIV virus in 1994, meant a swift and certain death, no antiretroviral medicines or therapy’s were available at this time. As the general health of these patients in Honduras was low, many died quickly from opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis (TB) and pneumonia caused by the breakdown of their bodies immune system.

The hospice at this time could only provide basic medication, care and spiritual support for the patients.

Each patient gave permission to be photographed in the hope their images would put the ‘human face’ to the AIDS global epidemic and they would not be forgotten.

A wider selection of photography taken at the San José Hospice, during my 1993 visit can be seen at HIV/AIDS Honduras Project Jan/Feb 1993

This work was supported by the United Nations Population Fund, the World Health Organisation, Channel 4 and Panos Pictures.

All images are Strictly Copyright © Bill Stephenson All Rights Reserved

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 01] Héctor is a transgender sex worker and is now HIV positive with multiple health problems associated with the breakdown of his immune system. He was born male but identifies himself as both male and female. I asked him how he had lost the end of his thumb, he said he had been in a relationship with another man who believed he was female. Héctor said he never allowed him to see him naked and during sex he got into a position where his partner believed his anus was a vagina. However, his partner eventually discovered this deception and cut his thumb off to remind him… “everyday of what he had done”. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 02] Héctor. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 03] This woman is the oldest HIV patient at the hospice, she is 60 years old.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 04] Two patients who have formed a relationship during their time at the hospice.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 05] Patient is visited by his sister.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 06] Crouching patient.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 07] Patients in the men’s ward. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 08] Patients in the men’s ward. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 09] This patient said he would be overjoyed if he could swim one more time in the Caribbean sea. Transport was arranged by the hospice for him to travel with two nurses to Tela a small town on the western Caribbean coast, 60 miles west of San Pedro Sula. With the help of the nurses who supported him in the water he was able to accomplish his final wish. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 10] As soon as other swimmers saw him being helped into the sea they quickly swam away and left the water. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 11] #3

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 12] #4

All images are Strictly Copyright © Bill Stephenson. All Rights Reserved.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 01] Héctor is a cross dressing, transgender sex worker and is now HIV positive with multiple health problems associated with the breakdown of his immune system. He was born male but identifies himself as both male and female. I asked him how he had lost the end of his thumb, he said he had been in a relationship with another man who believed he was female. Héctor said he never allowed him to see him naked and during sex he got into a position where his partner believed his anus was a vagina. However, his partner eventually discovered this deception and cut his thumb off to remind him… “everyday of what he had done”. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 02] Héctor. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 03] This woman is the oldest HIV patient at the hospice, she is 60 years old.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 04] Two patients who have formed a relationship during their time at the hospice.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 05] Patient is visited by his sister.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 06] Crouching patient.

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 07] Patients in the men’s ward. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 08] Patients in the men’s ward. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 09] This patient said he would be overjoyed if he could swim one more time in the Caribbean sea. Transport was arranged by the hospice for him to travel with two nurses to Tela a small town on the western Caribbean coast, 60 miles west of San Pedro Sula. With the help of the nurses who supported him in the water he was able to accomplish his final wish. #1

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 10] As soon as other swimmers saw him being helped into the sea they quickly swam away and left the water. #2

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 11] #3

San José Hospice Honduras 1994

[H 12] #4

All images are Strictly Copyright © Bill Stephenson. All Rights Reserved.