A recent Economist cover features a black parent holding a child with the question "The End of AIDS?" appearing overhead. While, the child's gaze is by no means relaxed, the title reflects a growing sentiment that the AIDS crisis of the last few decades could be coming to an end. It seems to imply that the concern over AIDS has somehow lessened, and that the entire virus could be eradicated in the foreseeable future.
Many men and women attending this years International AIDS Conference in Washington DC may take a different stance regarding the AIDS epidemic. The Conference aims to gather those living with HIV/AIDS, policy makers, scientists, and activists together to create a plan for progress in the fight against AIDS. Around 20,000 delegates are expected to come to DC from 200 countries. Many of these countries, especially Sub-Saharan African nations gravely suffer from the AIDS epidemic, and for many Americans, support for these nations has been a prime financial and political focus.
While such support is a necessary and honorable, the SnagFIlms documentary Out of Control: The AIDS Epidemic in Black America shows us how AIDS continues to be a deeply damaging disease in the United States, and more specifically, in the Black Community. Blacks make up only thirteen percent of the US population but alarmingly fifty percent of new HIV infections. Also, black women are twenty-three times more likely to be diagnosed with AIDS than white women. From Homosexual sex to intravenous drug use, Out of Control examines the causes or such frightening statistics, and it listens to the experiences of those personally affected by the disease. The film speaks with political leaders, activists, and religious figures to try and gain a rounded understanding of the problem of AIDS in the Black America. Clearly, AIDS in the Black Community is a distinct problem, and it is an issue that needs resources and care devoted to it.
So no, AIDS should not be considered to be at an end, and as The Economist article notes, the world community will need to come together to solve the problem. Hopefully, this year's AIDS conference will move us towards the end goal of eradication; however, for the time being, Americans at the conference ought to keep the worsening problem of AIDS in the Black Community in the forefront of their minds. Out of Control recognizes that the media has missed the truth about AIDS in Black America, and hopefully this year's conference will not do the same.
Watch here or at SnagFilms