‘deepsou+h’: Filmmaker explores HIV/AIDS epidemic in hardest-hit region

What started out as a white gay man’s disease is now hitting young black gay males, black heterosexual women and Latinos in the Southeastern United States at an alarming rate. “deepsou+h,” which sheds light on the epidemic, was viewed at the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., and the 2012 United States Conference on AIDS in Las Vegas. The film follows the lives of Monica Johnson, founder and CEO of HEROES, who has been HIV-positive for 28 years; Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama; and Joshua Alexander, a college student who has been living with HIV for six years.

After two years of research, driving 13,000 miles across the nation’s Bible Belt and interviewing more than 400 people, Lisa Biagiotti said she was forced to unlearn a lot of what she thought she knew about HIV/AIDS and the South. Biagiotti, an independent multimedia journalist and filmmaker, said “deepsou+h” was birthed out of what she thought “we had a handle on — I thought this was old news, and I was completely shocked at the statics.”

Biagiotti said she hopes that the viewing will “open up the conversation among the LGBT community, Southerners and sex educators,” and teach and give kids information that will protect them.

 

Population of focus: Health care providers, educators, advocates, family members and individuals who are HIV positive, or have AIDS in the rural part of southern United States.

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Organization: deepsou+h the movie