A stirring new VOA documentary, AIDS: Living in the Shadows, is making its world premiere today at 2100 UTC (5 p.m. EST) at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, with some help from the star power of Sir Elton John.
The 30-minute-long documentary – introduced by the British music legend and longtime AIDS activist – takes a global look at one of the most daunting side effects of AIDS: the stigma that makes its victims outcasts even within their own families.
This stigma, which Elton John describes as the disease’s “most deadly symptom,” is the focus of Living in the Shadows, as it takes audiences on a journey to Nigeria, Cambodia, Haiti, Uganda, Canada, and the United States to meet those living with HIV and AIDS.
VOA Director David Ensor said the documentary is another forum for VOA to serve its audience.
“AIDS has cut short thousands of lives in many parts of the world,” said Ensor, “but nowhere more than in sub-Saharan Africa, where VOA has millions of listeners. It is for them, and millions of others like them elsewhere, that VOA has produced Living in the Shadows.”
In each of the places the documentary stops, one message comes through: Though the scientific community has made great medical advances, the wisest scientists are incapable of curing the way AIDS stigmatizes its victims. Curing that will require a change beyond the scope of medicine, a change that permits people to see AIDS victims as fellow human beings.
Following its world premiere in Melbourne, AIDS: Living in the Shadows will be available online. A panel discussion, moderated by the documentary’s senior executive producer Beth Mendelson, will immediately follow the showing. VOA is live-streaming the entire 90-minute session.
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