AIDS is the leading killer of people under 60 in the world today, most in sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike any other film on AIDS, Miss HIV explores the battle over international HIV/AIDS policy and its impact. The film also highlights how some in Africa are fighting to overcome the paralyzing stigma associated with AIDS -- one of the primary obstacles in the fight against the disease. The documentary gives voice to women in Botswana participating in the Miss HIV Stigma-Free pageant, and college students in Uganda fighting the stigma associated with their choice to remain abstinent. Filmed across Africa and at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto, Miss HIV brings into focus the struggle between the conflicting approaches to AIDS education and prevention.
The film presents experts advocating on both sides of the AIDS policy struggle -- those supporting broader distribution of condoms and retroviral drugs, and those who believe abstinence and faithfulness should be the first line of defense, especially in Africa. The film devotes considerable time to exploring Uganda's apparent success with the "ABC" strategy for prevention (Abstinence, Be faithful, and Condoms as a last resort). Among those featured in the film are Bill and Melinda Gates, Harvard Anthropologist Dr. Edward Green, UCSF Professor Dr. Norman Hearst, and Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa, among many others, including those infected with HIV/AIDS who speak eloquently for themselves. Miss HIV is a useful starting point for further exploration of the impact of the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the competing strategies.
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