AIDS Documentary: A Planet Under Siege
June 13, 2003
"Pandemic: Facing AIDS," a five-part documentary spanning the global HIV/AIDS crisis, offers an invaluable service. The film by Rory Kennedy surveys a health disaster with a forthrightness that, while never sensational, spares us nothing of the pain AIDS causes. It premieres Sunday, June 15, on HBO.
First we are taken to Uganda, where AIDS has left a generation of orphans in its wake -- many of them infected, most of preschool age. In Russia, we meet Sergei and Lena, recovering drug addicts who seroconverted through needle exchange. Trying to make the best use of the time they have left, they devote their energies to AIDS awareness demonstrations. In Thailand, Lek, a former sex worker, is trying to see her family one more time before she dies.
Most shocking of all is the story the film finds in India, where a truck driver became infected through intercourse with the prostitutes he met on his route. His wife, determined to have a child at any cost, demands that he impregnate her -- even though it will bring about her seroconversion and risk the creation of an HIV-infected baby.
Alex, a gay Brazilian who, while rail-thin with the disease, is doing fairly. His country's extremely well-run medical system supplies free drugs for the HIV-infected who cannot afford them. His upbeat attitude and good relationship with his family are a heartening sight, particularly in contrast to the horror the film unflinchingly discloses in its other stories.
06.24.03; David Ehrenstein
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.