While it seems as if the prominence of AIDS has started to fade in recent years, giving way to that emperor of maladies, cancer, the threat posed by HIV and AIDS is still as real as it was in the 1980s.
A host of drug treatments has turned the disease from a death sentence into a relatively treatable lifelong condition.
But, as is the case with most things, progress is slow to come to the American South.
In the upcoming documentary film, deepsouth, director Lisa Biagiotti captures the stories of Southerners who, facing crumbling infrastructure and a deadly disease, turn inward to solve their problems.
A young, black gay man tries to escape the condemnation of the Mississippi Delta.
Two best friends and their DIY community prepare for an annual HIV retreat in rural Louisiana.
Alabama activist, Birmingham resident and AIDS Alabama’s CEO Kathie Hiers spends 120 days on the road each year to fight for equitable resources for Alabama and the South.
AIDS Alabama, incorporated in 1986, is a United Way Community Partner and member of the Southern AIDS Coalition dedicated to helping people with HIV or AIDS live healthy, independent lives while preventing the spread of the virus.
Last year, AIDS Alabama provided more than 170,000 nights of housing to 750 low-income, HIV-positive individuals and family members in Alabama. AIDS Alabama also runs the state’s only facility for people living with both HIV and a severe mental illness. By providing education, testing and other services, AIDS Alabama provides Alabama with a much-needed champion in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The documentary film premiered in Washington, D.C., when the AIDS world convened for the annual International AIDS Conference from July 23-25.
On July 23, deepsouth was screened during a private event that also included conversations about the Southern epidemic and the release of the Southern AIDS Coalition’s “Southern States Manifesto: Update 2012.”
After 30 years of HIV and AIDS, the global nature of the virus can seem to overshadow its domestic reality at time. The fight against AIDS and HIV in the U.S. does not always recognize the newer epidemic raging in the American South.
“Despite historic progress, the South has the most people living with HIV and AIDS, the greatest poverty, the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections, the greatest number of people without health insurance, the least access to health care, the most vulnerable populations, the highest mortality rates, the fastest growing epidemic in the nation, and the least resources to deal with the crisis,” says Hiers in a recent news release.
Visit www.deepsouthfilm.com for more information or to watch the trailer.
For more information about AIDS Alabama, call (205) 324-9822 or go to www.aidsalabama.org.
Andy McWhorter is the assistant editor of Weld Local. Send your feedback to email@example.com.