“Statistics are less compelling than human lives.”
Lisa Biagotti, Director of deepsou+h
The global epidemic of HIV overshadows the prevalence of the virus in America, particularly in the South. As much as we like to think HIV is “under control” in the United States that is far from the truth. Instead, we hide it, deny it, shame it, and ignore it. AIDS activism is historic, but the movement did not reach all the marginalized and vulnerable populations. The South has a unique culture, bares the imprint of slavery, and is poverty-stricken. HIV and AIDS in the South are not new problems. The difference is the recent media attention on the South’s epidemic.
deepsou+h is an unparalleled documentary about the rural American South that includes four mini-stories: an animated map that correlates slavery to poverty to HIV, the sermon of a Baptist pastor, the long drive of a rural social worker, and the sex education lesson of a health teacher. The film is not about black people with HIV or the “new face” of HIV/AIDS. Instead, it looks past the numbers and tells stories about the experience of what it is like to be affected by HIV.
deepsou+h is a lesson in human rights, and how we confine people in our communities. Unless we reduce the stigma and the shame associated with sex and sexuality, HIV will proliferate. Working directly with marginalized populations has taught me that HIV is not really about HIV. HIV is more about social inequity than the virus.
Join us, the N Street Village community, as we attend deepsou+h at the West End Cinema on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 pm. The screening will be followed by a question and answer with the director. We hope you will join us. It is guaranteed to be a powerful and thought-provoking evening.
By Sarah Thappa – Sarah is a member of AIDS United’s AmeriCorps National team with the Washington AIDS Partnership and serves as the HIV Health Promotion Specialist at N Street Village. She does HIV education, counseling, outreach, and testing in addition to health promotion classes on various topics. Sarah hails from Northern Illinois and graduated from Carleton College ‘13 with a B.A. in Biology.