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Opinion

A Short Film for World AIDS Day Has Arrived. Watch It Right Now.

November 16, 2018

Screenshot from 'Sing Your Song'

Sing Your Song follows the awakening of a young man living with HIV in Mississippi


Stop what you're doing. An exhilarating new short film produced especially for people living with HIV (PLHIV) is about to grab your heart and make you stand up and cheer.

To commemorate World AIDS Day 2018, the Sero Project has released Sing Your Song, a short film illustrating the life-changing value of PLHIV networks. It turns the typically solemn World AIDS Day on its head by showing the thrilling potential of living, breathing people living with HIV and why creating networks is a crucial tool.



"PLHIV networks are as important today as they were in the earliest days of the epidemic," said Robert Suttle, Sero's Assistant Director. "Networks are where we can ask questions of our peers, learn how and find the strength to disclose our HIV status when appropriate and build the self-empowerment critical to our survival." Sero and other PLHIV networks are urging AIDS service organizations, policy leaders and others to highlight the important role of PLHIV networks during his year's World AIDS Day commemorations.

The film was shot this fall at the "We, the Positive" summit in Jackson, Mississippi, produced by the Mississippi Positive Network and My Brother's Keeper (an HIV and healthcare service provider).

Gina Brown, RSW, Community Engagement Manager at the Southern AIDS Coalition said, "The themes of belonging and community are universal, but some people might be surprised by the sheer level of strength and resilience among people living with HIV in the Mississippi delta area. Many people with HIV in the region live in poverty, have limited access to healthcare and suffer from profound stigma. Yet by working together they not only survive, but thrive, inspiring and motivating other people living with HIV, including me."

The Sero Project fights HIV-related stigma, discrimination and criminalization and works to support the strengthening and creation of PLHIV networks across the U.S. and in Mexico.

Sing Your Song is a project that grew out of Sero's Network Empowerment Project, which provides a toolkit to PLHIV who are involved with networks or interested in starting a network. To access the toolkit, or to find a PLHIV network in your area, go to Network Empowerment Project.

Meanwhile, grab a Kleenex and take a look. And then share this video with your own support network or with someone living with HIV who needs a lift.

Mark

(I was privileged to serve as producer of this project and make a cameo -- singing terribly, no less -- and the film was shot and edited by Christopher King of Endless Echo. It was a labor of love. Kudos to the inspiring people living with HIV in Mississippi whom I will simply never forget.)

[Note from TheBody: This article was originally published by Mark S. King on Nov. 16, 2018. We have cross-posted it with his permission.]


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Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.

Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.

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