Chicago Department of Public Health HIV Prevention Movie Educates African-American Gay Men, Wins Awards
A film produced by the Chicago Department of Public Health to educate African-American gay men about HIV, titled "Kevin's Room," will receive first place awards in two categories -- television special and health education -- from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame at its awards ceremony Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, according to a CDPH release. The 60-minute drama explores issues such as gay relationships, HIV testing, adherence to HIV drug regimens, sexual risks and cultural and community barriers, such as coming out, "family shame" and religious issues, which "may contribute to poor health outcomes" for African-American gay men. Lora Branch, director of the CDPH's Office of Gay and Lesbian Health and the film's executive producer, said that the success of the film "lies in its ability to creatively introduce topics that young African-American gay men must discuss" (CDPH release, 10/30). A CDC report released in June showed that the incidence of HIV among men who have sex with men is rising to rates not seen since the early days of the epidemic, and African-American men are "among those hardest hit." Helene Gayle, former director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said that the study "documented the dramatic impact HIV is having among gay and bisexual men of all races and the urgent need to expand our prevention efforts for these men, particularly in these African-American communities" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/1). "Kevin's Room," which was originally broadcast April 18 on UPN and has been viewed by more than 100,000 people since its release, is a film with "prevention messages that are developed specifically" for men who have sex with men (CDPH release, 10/30). To view a clip of the film, click here.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.