New film 'Endgame' tackles AIDS in black America

Tonight, PBS will air a two-hour documentary, Endgame: AIDS in Black America, as part of it’s in-depth Frontline news series.

The special presentation is described by PBS as “a groundbreaking two-hour exploration of one of the country’s most urgent, preventable health crises.”

The film traces the history of the epidemic through the experiences of extraordinary individuals who tell their stories: people like Nel, a 63-year-old grandmother who married a deacon in her church and later found an HIV diagnosis tucked into his Bible; Tom and Keith, survivors who were children born with the virus in the early 1990s; and Jovanté, a high school football player who didn’t realize what HIV meant until it was too late. From Magic Johnson to civil rights pioneer Julian Bond, from pastors to health workers, people on the front lines tell moving stories of the battle to contain the spread of the virus, and the opportunity to finally turn the tide of the epidemic.

Thirty years after the discovery of the AIDS virus among gay white men, nearly half of the 1 million people in the United States infected with HIV are black men, women and children. “If black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worst epidemic in the world,” says Phill Wilson, head of the Black AIDS Institute.

The documentary is sure to spark debate among those who support and oppose the gay lifestyle.

In the trailer for the documentary, Pastor Michael Jordan expresses his negative perception of homosexuals. “AIDS is God’s curse to a homosexual life. I think it stinks in the nostrils of God.”

Patrick Packer of the Southern AIDS Coalition counters: “He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that God loves all his children. He loves the gay member of his family. God loves the person that is struggling with drug addiction and gets infected by using needles. God loves them, just like God loves his members of his church that might be struggling with other issues.”

Endgame: AIDS in Black America airs tonight on PBS at 9/8C, and will also be available to watch on the PBS website.

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC