HIV documentary will focus on clinic in Birmingham

A documentary scheduled to air September 21 on PBS will focus on the fight against HIV in Birmingham and San Francisco as scientists move closer to ending the virus in the United States.

The documentary, “Ending HIV in America”, focuses on scientific advances since the appearance of AIDS and HIV 40 years ago. The film was produced by NOVA, Global Health Reporting Center and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios.

Major challenges remain, but researchers have developed treatments in recent years that suppress the virus and reduce its transmission. Some patients can manage the virus by taking one pill a day, which makes it easier to control than some types of diabetes.

Bringing these treatments to the people who need them remains difficult, especially in the Deep South. Stigma and lack of access to doctors and health care can prevent patients from being diagnosed and treated.

The South, including Alabama, now has the highest number of new HIV cases compared to other parts of the country, according to the CDC. In 2017, the region accounted for 52% of new cases, even though it represents only 38% of the US population. HIV-positive patients from the South are less likely to receive treatment and more likely to die, especially if they are black.

Federal officials have set a goal of reducing the number of new cases by 90% between 2019 and 2030. The filmmakers follow staff members from two HIV clinics, Ward 86 in San Francisco and Clinic 1917 in Birmingham, to document the progress and challenges ahead. objective. It features interviews with Dr. Michael Saag, a leading global health and HIV expert and director of the UAB Center for AIDS Research.

“What Covid and HIV teach us is that no virus can be defeated without great science and great public health,” said Global Health Reporting Center co-founder and president Janet Tobias. “In the fight against HIV/AIDS, there has been unprecedented collaboration between patients, activists and scientists. It is through the extraordinary leadership of all of these groups that ending HIV in America is now possible.

According to a press release, those involved in the film will host screenings and panel discussions in key cities while working to reach medical students. No details have yet been released on the events in Alabama.

Ending HIV in America airs Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 8 p.m. on PBS. It is also available for streaming at pbs.org/nova and through the PBS Video app.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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