Best Work by an Emerging Photographer | Nominee

Moritz Küstner


AIDS in Estonia – the fate of Margarita Prigorina


In 2001, at the age of nineteen, Margarita Prigorina was diagnosed as HIV positive. Just how or where she was infected, she doesn’t know, but she is reasonably certain that the infection came from a needle she used for a shot of heroin. Without any qualms, she shared hypos and needles with her friends. Now they are almost all infected. Until the winter of 2000, only one to twelve cases of HIV infection were registered in Estonia every year; after that the numbers exploded. According to the WHO, the infection rate reached its peak in 2001, with a total of 1,475 new cases. Since then Estonia, renowned in the EU for its economic growth, has to battle against the highest HIV infection rates in Europe. Around 1.3 per cent of the population are infected and the new infections rate is still far above the European average. Margarita lives in a small room with her three daughters and her new partner, Roman. They have known each other for two years, but until now, she has never found the courage to tell him that she’s HIV positive. ‘I think there are people who are just too sensitive to be confronted with hard facts like this.’ says Margarita, when anyone asks why Roman knows nothing about her fate.