HIV… It’s not over

 

 

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A couple of days ago, December 1 was World AIDS Day. MAC Cosmetics showed a documentary entitled It’s Not Over by Andrew Jenks at a theatre in Makati. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend because I was hosting a very important event — the national launch of APEC in the Philippines. (Major!)

I couldn’t let the message of this film go by unnoticed though. It is a documentary that shows the reality of HIV-AIDS during this time. Most people associate AIDS as an 80’s issue that has already been resolved. But studies show that despite all the awareness, infections still continue. Young people account for over 30 percent of all new infections and, in certain areas and groups, infections are actually on the rise. This film was funded by the MAC AIDS Fund which has relied on 100% of sales from all Viva Glam lipsticks and has raised more than $340 million to date.

 

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I really think this is something we should be talking about in the Philippines. We are among the 9 countries that has increasing HIV/AIDS cases. It is quite alarming to see the stats that there has been a 50% growth annually in HIV/AIDS cases in our country.

It’s Not Over is a film that could start this discussion, especially among the younger people. Starting December 1, 2014, Netflix, the world’s largest global streaming platform, will be hosting the film for viewers worldwide, and SnagFilms, a leader in high-quality free film content, is making it available through its applications on Roku®, Xbox™, Sony® and more.

I hope people who watch the film will realize that a lot of work still needs to be done and that they will be inspired to look further into the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS around the world.

 

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Paige is a college freshman who has been living with HIV her entire life. After years of battling stigma, she has come full circle, becoming a young advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and using her experience to challenge assumptions and prejudice. Andrew first meets Paige at a dance marathon at her college in Indiana before taking off with Paige and her two roommates for an impromptu road-trip.

 

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A teacher and mentor, Lucky is working to keep young South Africans out of the type of trouble that he ran into at an early age. Lucky acts as a tour guide around Khayelitsha, the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa with some of the highest rates of HIV in the country. As Andrew follows him to work and around his hometown, Lucky emanates an exuberance and zeal for life that is an inspiring celebration of the efforts of a single, committed individual.

 

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An Indian playwright, Sarang (not in photo) is openly gay in a country where homosexuality is outlawed. Come along for the ride as Sarang’s new play, addressing gay marriage, makes its way from rehearsal to public debut. While in India, Andrew also meets Sarang’s boyfriend, witnesses the personal stories of HIV+ orphans, and experiences the staggering poverty of the infamous Falkland Road.

 

UNAIDS welcomes the film and calls upon young people around the world to mobilize around its vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. Globally, an estimated 5 million adolescents and young people (ages 10-24) were living with HIV in 2013. Millions of young people living with HIV do not know they have the virus. Every day approximately 1,800 adolescents and young people become infected with HIV, accounting for nearly 31 percent of all new HIV infections.

“Young people will lead us to an AIDS-free generation. By ensuring adolescents and young people are aware of and have access to HIV services, we are not only saving lives, but also investing in a healthier future for generations to come,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We are proud of the strong partnership we have with the M?A?C AIDS Fund to advance global efforts toward ending the AIDS epidemic.”

The subjects in the film are active with MAC AIDS Fund grantees including Humsafar, Grassroot Soccer and Camp Kindle. These partners have received grants to help fight HIV/AIDS through the MAC AIDS Fund, which raises funds exclusively through the sale of MAC’s VIVA GLAM Lipstick and Lipglass. MAC donates 100 percent of the sale price to fight the AIDS epidemic and has raised more than $340 million to date.

 

For more information on the film, including cast biographies, grantee overviews, exclusive clips and ways to get involved, please visit www.itsnotoverfilm.com.

 

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