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Documentary About the AIDS Epidemic in Black America Debuts on PBS

By Kellee Terrell

July 10, 2012

Endgame: AIDS in Black America, a new two-hour documentary directed and written by Renata Simone, delves into the complexities of the AIDS epidemic in Black America and focuses both on personal responsibility and the serious social factors that continue to fuel HIV and make African Americans more vulnerable to contracting the disease.

NPR recently reported:

Endgame explores how politics, social factors and cultural factors allowed the AIDS epidemic to spread rapidly in the African-American community over the past three decades. The film -- shot in churches, harm-reduction clinics, prisons, nightclubs and high school classrooms -- tells personal stories from children who were born with the virus, public health officials and educators who run HIV clinics, and clergy members around the country, many of whom have been divided on their response to the epidemic.

The film also explores how the war on drugs in the 1980s and 1990s affected the spread of HIV in communities where large percentages of African-American men were incarcerated.

In a PBS press release, Simone is clear that her film's goal is to explore the troublesome relationship that racial inequality and HIV have in communities of color: There are concrete reasons as to why African Americans are 10 times more likely than their white counterparts to be infected with HIV.

"The film is about race in America as much as it is about HIV - how a virus has exploited our inability to deal with our problems around race," she said. "In part I hoped to show how the big, abstract social issues come to rest on people every day, in the limited life choices they face. The story of HIV in black America is about the private consequences of the politics of race."

The Black AIDS Institute's Phill Wilson, basketball legend Magic Johnson, AIDS activist and public speaker Marvelyn Brown and sex therapist Gail Wyatt among many voices included in this film.

View a clip about stigma and the black church:

Watch HIV, Stigma & The Black Church on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Let us know what you think of the film.

ENDGAME: AIDS in Black America, airing Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Also, you can watch the film online. Learn more about the film here.

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for and

Follow Kellee on Twitter: @kelleent.

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