Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Five years ago, the man Elsie Smith loved told her calmly from his hospital bed that it was time for him to go. He died of AIDS and is buried here, in a cemetery on the Navajo reservation.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Elsie Smith, who is HIV-positive, lives in the tiny tribal community of Iyanbito with her two sons and three granddaughters.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Elsie Smith learned of her HIV diagnosis at the Indian Medical Center. Her granddaughters, from left, Keira, 3, Kariann, 2, and Keyanna, 7, assist her with her daily doses of medicine.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Elsie Smith whips dough swiftly between her palms as she makes frybread with Kariann and Keira.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Elsie Smith hugs her granddaughter Keira after she collided with her sister Kariann while dancing in the living room to a Justin Bieber song.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The Navajo Nation is a vast expanse in the Four Corners region where poverty, poor education, alcohol abuse and the hardships of reservation life cultivate an environment in which HIV can spread.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Archuleta, left, and Emerson Scott, partners who are both HIV positive, volunteer with the Navajo AIDS Network and work with several support groups for HIV and AIDS patients.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Archuleta with his medication. Should he forget to take it, he can expect a stern lecture from Scott.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Archuleta and Emerson Scott move effortlessly about the kitchen while cooking breakfast.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Archuleta, right, helps his sister, who recently had a stroke, walk along with Scott's mother. Both women live with the couple in Gallup.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Here in the Navajo Nation, some learn about HIV and AIDS only once they're diagnosed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | April 8, 2015

In Wednesday's Pictures in the News, a fire rips through part of a commercial building near downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Two people were briefly trapped in an office...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | Oct. 29, 2013

Inglewood: Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were shot and...

  View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | May 29, 2013

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Nepal, where climbers navigate the knife-edge ridge just below the Hillary Step on their way to the summit of Mt. Everest. Sixty years...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | November 5, 2012

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in the presidential battleground state of Ohio, where a voter fills out a paper ballot during the final day of early voting in Lancaster. On...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | Nov. 1, 2012

In Thursday's Pictures in the News: New York commuters take to public transportation in the wake of super storm Sandy (  View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Hurricane Sandy hammers East Coast

Floods and fires, seawater surges and electrical outages, fierce rains and lashing winds continued to pummel parts of the Northeast as Sandy continued its destructive march on...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Occupy London camp dismantled

Authorities dismantled Occupy London's camp outside the famous St. Paul's Cathedral in a dramatic early morning raid Tuesday, clearing away one of the longest-surviving...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | Oct. 6, 2011

In Thursday's Pictures in the News, prisoners wade through a flooded jail as they evacuate to another jail in Thailand, body-builders flex their muscles during the Asian World...   View Post»

   

Navajo infecting Navajo

Pictures in the News | Oct. 5, 2011

Wednesday's Pictures in the News start in Greece, where a 24-hour nationwide strike protesting the ongoing austerity measures taken by the Greek government has turned violent....   View Post»

   

Stagecoach Fetsival

Photos: Stagecoach 2011

The Stagecoach country music festival is underway at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.  Performers at the weekend festival include Kris Kristofferson, Kenny Chesney, Carrie...   View Post»

Navajo infecting Navajo

With HIV diagnoses on the rise, Western medicine and traditional Native American healing converge at the Indian Medical Center in Gallup, N.M., to treat members of the Navajo Nation.

Five years ago, the man Elsie Smith loved told her calmly from his hospital bed that it was time for him to go. He died with a hushed goodbye and a squeeze of her hand.

Smith herself had been feeling ill for a while. Her bones ached and she vomited often. She soon mourned him from her own hospital bed.

A doctor explained to the Navajo woman that her lover had died of AIDS. It was important that they check her blood, he said. She agreed.

Two days later, the doctor told her that she had HIV. Her tired mind became flustered with questions, but she asked only one.

“What is HIV?”

Read the story by Stephen Ceasar

No comments yet

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published