Kampala — Unlike many films that have been done on HIV, Miss HIV takes you behind the curtains on what is really happening in the battle against a virus that is now the leading killer of people under 60 worldwide.
The docu-drama Miss HIV unearths the international conflict of HIV/Aids policies while following the journey of two simple HIV- positive women who enter the contest.
The documentary highlights the international controversies over the prioritisation of abstinence, faithfulness and use of condoms in fighting the HIV pandemic.
Elizabeth Ramolale, one of the women, sees that African nations are dying and she wants to break the stigma that keeps it hidden.
Jim Hanon, the director who is also behind American Ethnographic Media which put together the docu-drama, follows the HIV/Aids story right from its early days. He uses Ramolale, from Botswana, in southern Africa to tell the story of stigma and humiliation and why coming out to live positively as examples could serve to deal with the scourge.
Hanon, who also follows Uganda's success story that is now rather shaky, manages to weave a strong story without dramatising the core issue – HIV/Aids. To bring out the story more vividly, Hanon makes a comparison of what is happening in Botswana where half of all pregnant women have HIV, against Uganda which has experienced the largest reduction of new infections ever recorded. Unlike any movie you've watched on HIV, the story takes you backstage to the Miss HIV pageant and behind the curtains on what is really happening in the battle against a virus that is now the leading killer of people under 60 worldwide.
Plus, he keeps count of the different stories through visits to different countries, knotting the story with good research and interviews with relevant authorities on the subject like Professor Edward Green of the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies who captured the HIV/Aids story while in Uganda during the early years of its prevalence, Dr Norman Hearst, a professor of Family Medicine and epidemiology at the University of California and the views of Aids activist Beatrice Were, Youth Pastor Martin Ssempa and Bill and Melinda Gates at the Toronto Aids conference and Janet Museveni who alongside the president played a central role in promoting the fight against the scourge.