5 Must-See HIV/AIDS Films That Could Save a Life
At-risk youths lack needed visible reminders of disease’s human cost
Media images surround us, and young people, especially, rely on such images to illustrate much of the world. That begs the question: When it comes to battling HIV/AIDS, can documentaries play a role in reaching a generation of at-risk youth by putting a face to the disease?
It’s a tough question to answer definitively, but some experts say the inability to put a face to the HIV/AIDS pandemic makes the realities of the disease surreal for too many young people ages 13-24. And with young black gay men having the nation's highest rate of new HIV infections, at least one sexual health expert bemoans the lack of consciousness that seems to run rampant in black teenage and young adult men when it comes to the virus.
“[Young people] don’t have a face to attach to the disease like there was in the late 1980s and through the 1990s,” Michele Luc told Loop 21 in an interview for Monday's story about the disconnect between HIV/AIDS prevention messages and young black gay men. “For me, as a black female, when Eazy-E died, when Magic Johnson came out [as HIV positive], these were people [my generation] knew and loved.”
Putting a face on and giving voice to a new generation of those living with HIV/AIDS has been the work of filmmakers behind some recent documentaries on the subject.
James Houston directed the 2009 film “Let’s Talk About Sex,” which explores Americans' attitudes toward sex education for adolescents and young people.
He says young black gay men -- if some do exhibit ignorance of the disease -- are taking their cue from the older adults around them and the society in which they were raised.
“Young people are a result of what’s going out there in the moment,” Houston said in the phone interview. “They are the product of parents, community leaders, churches that have been unwilling to really discuss these issues.”
Houston, 47, and a native of Australia, said he hopes his film helps educate and open viewers' minds -- which, in turn, could possibly save someone's life.
Check out the gallery above of Houston's and other critically acclaimed films about HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Listings include where the films can be found or streamed.