February 1, 2012
Tonight, public television stations across the country will begin airing Perpetuating Stigma, an episode from the award-winning documentary series IN THE LIFE. This special report investigates the injustices that arise when a person's HIV status becomes a crime, with a focus on how women have been stigmatized and prosecuted under these laws.
Thirty-six US states and 2 US territories have laws that criminalize HIV exposure or failure by an HIV positive person to disclose their status. Perpetuating Stigma features HIV positive women whose personal stories challenge the theory behind HIV criminalization laws and expose the reality of their impact. Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the "Repeal HIV Discrimination Act" in September 2011, sparking new conversation about these laws. Congresswoman Lee says, "Many states are very extreme; they are very right-wing in how they see people who have HIV and AIDS."
Last season, IN THE LIFE reported on laws criminalizing the exposure and transmission of HIV, focusing on the stories of positive men. The program titled Legalizing Stigma led public education efforts, beginning with the first ever Congressional Briefing on this issue.
"IN THE LIFE's decision to continue coverage of HIV criminalization, specifically with a report on women, is motivated by the lack of a fair media perspective on this issue," states Michelle Kristel, executive director of In The Life Media.
In The Life Media continues its coverage of HIV and AIDS discrimination online, with the web exclusive short, Rose v. Cahee: HIV Discrimination in Medical Care. When Melody Rose was diagnosed with gallbladder disease, her doctor told her she'd have to find someone else to treat it. The reason: Rose is HIV positive.
Perpetuating Stigma begins airing February 1st on public television stations across the country and will be available for free video streaming and embedding from the In The Life Media website. To find out when it will air in your local area, or to stream or download it, go to ITLMedia.org.