HBO Movie Addresses HIV/AIDS in Black Women; Rev. Jackson Urges Illinois Inmates To Receive HIV Tests
"Life Support," a new HBO movie, is a "naturalistic and tough" film and the first to address the issue of HIV/AIDS among black women and others, according to the film's producer, Nelson George, the Washington Times reports. The fictional film -- which was released at the Sundance Film Festival in January -- is a multigenerational story based on the life of George's sister, Andrea Williams. Williams is a recovering intravenous drug user who contracted HIV 10 years ago and now is an advocate in a community service organization in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Life Support. Actress Queen Latifah stars in the film as an outreach worker, who with the character based on Williams, "engage[s] in gutsy, impromptu support sessions," the Times reports. George, who documented his sister's life experience for more than one year to prepare for the film, said, "Black women are the No. 1 people getting (the disease), and I wanted to create a film that would give black women a voice," adding that the "purpose of this (film) is to reignite the dialogue about this virus." A special screening of the movie, sponsored by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, will be featured on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The city has one of the highest rates of new AIDS cases in the U.S. The film is set to air on HBO March 10 (Washington, Washington Times, 2/27).
Rev. Jackson Urges Inmates To Be Tested
During a visit Friday to the Cook County Jail in Illinois, the Rev. Jesse Jackson took an HIV test and urged inmates to also be tested, the AP/Clear Lake Northwest Herald reports. Illinois law requires that inmates be offered a voluntary HIV test upon arrival at a state prison and before their release, according Derek Schnapp, spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Corrections. Jackson warned the inmates about the risks of HIV/AIDS and the probability of infecting others if they engage in risky sexual behavior. Dozens of the inmates volunteered to take the test after Jackson's address. His "appearance comes at a time when lawmakers across the country are pushing or considering legislation to require mandatory testing of inmates for HIV," according to the AP/Northwest Herald (Babwin, AP/Clear Lake Northwest Herald, 2/23).