The new PBS/Frontline documentary, ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America, presents an insightful look at how prejudice and fear has allowed HIV to rapidly consume the African American community.
The documentary, airing July 10 at 9 p.m. CDT, shows candid interviews with Magic Johnson, pastors, health workers, and those personally battling AIDS. The lives depicted in the film -- a woman betrayed by her deacon husband, a teenage rap duo born with the virus, a homosexual man who has to hide his identity because of homophobia in his community, and a high school football player unaware of the virus until it was too late -- illustrate how black America is not only victim to HIV, but victim to the politics of race.
Putting a spotlight on the issue of race and AIDS is only the beginning to changing the story.
“This documentary promises to be both eye-opening and mind-changing,” says Johnathon Briggs, chief external relations officer for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). I hope local PBS viewers will not only watch and learn, but commit to act against AIDS by getting involved with AIDS service organizations and supporting policy efforts aimed at turning the tide of the epidemic, which is now described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a ‘winnable battle.' ”
The statistics show that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV. African Americans accounted for 44% of new HIV infections while only representing 14% of the U.S. population, according to the latest numbers from the CDC.
In Chicago, the statistics are even more shocking. African Americans represent 37% of the population and account for 52% of all Chicagoans with HIV, according to U.S. census and Chicago city health statistics.
What can be done? Education, advocacy, and prevention are at the heart of the fight to end AIDS.
AFC's new phase of the Change My Story campaign confronts HIV/AIDS in African-American communities in a unique way, by creating a space for real talk by real people.
Your homework: Watch the PBS documentary, ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America. And then share your story, help fight stigma, educate and advocate at Changemystory.org.
Sandra Jaime is a social media/marketing intern for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
Do you ever feel there are critical advances in HIV/AIDS prevention that aren't being properly covered in the mainstream media? Or that there are complex HIV/AIDS-related healthcare and funding issues not being clearly explained? Or that there are powerful HIV/AIDS stories here in Chicago just waiting for someone to tell them? We feel that way, too!
At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), we’re committed to changing the story of HIV/AIDS. Inside Story aims to take you inside that story, to give you an intimate look at how AFC, and other Chicago and national organizations, are fighting HIV/AIDS through medical, housing and support services; cutting-edge research into prevention and treatment methods; and advocacy for stronger HIV-AIDS public policy from legislators.