What Would You Do?

18 Sep

https://i0.wp.com/thirty86.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/aids_cant_Cured.jpg I just re-read the tragic tale of Cicely Bolden, the 28-year-old Dallas mother stabbed to death by a lover after revealing she was HIV-positive. Her 7-year-old and 8-year-old children found her murdered when they came home from school. The story and the outpour of comments defending Bolden’s murderer have made me remember a movie screening I attended a year ago. The film begged the same question: what would you do if the person you loved or at the least made love with was HIV-positive.

The only difference in the story is that the film’s protagonist, Angel, disclosed her illness to her high school sweetheart before they had even kissed. Bolden told her lover of her disease after sleeping with him, presumably without protection. But as Reunited’s filmmaker’s so eloquently stated below, AIDS is not a death sentence. That’s a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops of the city’s projects, condos and brick houses. Because clearly Bolden’s murderer didn’t get the memo: “She killed me, so I killed her,” he justified. 

The stigma associated with the disease is what makes people like Bolden scared to reveal their status and puts us all at greater risk. The media has a huge role and responsibility to communicate both the importance of prevention and that there’s life after the disease. I know it’s tough. One notion seems to undermine the other. But they are not mutually exclusive. If the emphasis on scare tactics and the deadliness of the disease were truly effective, the population of those infected wouldn’t be growing at such a steady rate.  Both pieces must be relayed for Bolden’s death not to be in vain. GreaterThan does an excellent job depicting each.

AIDS is a reality for many Americans. This pastor is known as “Da Condom Father” for his open fight against the epidemic in Louisiana. It’s a reality for many Texans. For the past 10 years, Texas has been on the top ten list for states with the highest HIV-rates. In 2011, it ranked fourth, following New York, California and Florida. It’s a reality for many Dallasites. Dallas has the highest AIDS rate in the state of Texas.  But the first step, of course, is protection and the assumption, perhaps, that every partner could be a host. Because if you don’t know their status, they could.  AIDS is every unprotected human’s kryptonite.

The last time I was tested, I sat beside a woman who was literally shaking in her chair. Her partner has the virus. “I’ve been exposed,” she said, voice quivering as her eyes grew tearful. When I received my results, I thought about her. Hopefully, her’s came back clear as well. But if they didn’t, I prayed she remembered that the virus itself is not a death sentence. Ask Magic.

Reunited captures life after HIV

By LASHONDA COOKS

The Dallas Examiner

What if you discovered the love of your life was HIV-positive?

That is the question local filmmaker, writer and producer Priscilla Adams Walker posed to the crowd of Dallasites gathered in Lewisville’s Studio Movie Grill during the Oct. 9 screening of Reunited, Walker’s first movie under Priscilla A. Productionz, the film production company she started earlier this year.

In the breakout film, the Shreveport native stars as Angel, a woman who’d rather settle for “cuddling with a good book,” than dive back into the world of dating. That all changes when old high school flame, Broderick, returns to town. As things between the two grow heated, Angel decides to reveal to Broderick that she is HIV-Positive, leaving him to decide between abandoning Angel altogether or loving her, HIV and all.

Walker is no stranger to the camera. As a child, she dreamed of performing and often wowed audiences in church and school plays.

“I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to be a movie star,” Walker recalled.

After four years in the military, Walker began modeling. She has since appeared in Public Service Announcements and a number of independent films.

Now, the mother of two is trying her skills behind the scenes.

“I’ve prayed about it a lot and I really talked to people in the industry to kind of get their input,” she said.

Reunited, the company’s first movie, doesn’t tap dance around HIV/AIDS. It forces viewers to confront their own perceptions about the sexually transmitted disease.

“Does it outweigh love? Or does love outweigh the HIV? I want them to ask themselves, what would you do?” Walker stated.

It’s a question many Texans have been forced to ask. In 2009, Texas narrowly trailed New York, Florida and California with the fourth highest HIV/AIDS rate in the nation. The city of Dallas leads the pack. Dallas has held the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the Lone Star state for the past several years. According to Dallas County Health and Human Services, 908 new cases of HIV/AIDS were diagnosed in 2010 alone. About 70 percent of those new cases infected were men having sex with other men. 20 percent of news cases were infected in homosexual relationships. 50 percent of those newly diagnosed Dallasites were Black.

“There are a lot of people dealing with the issue that this film addresses and they’re not talking about it,” Walker continued.

Walker hopes the film will get people talking and thinking about the sensitive topic. One of the film’s most memorable scenes occurs when Angel tells a friend who refuses to allow her back into his home that her HIV is, in many ways, similar to his diabetes—simply a medical condition that must regulated.

Through Angel’s story, the audience is forced to step into the shoes of a HIV-positive person and see how isolating life can be. Friends who once welcomed her into their home are scared for her to touch their towels or drinking from their cups. Through the film, viewers slowly realize how misleading such fears can be: HIV can only be spread through blood or sexual exchanges.

Reunited also highlights the fact for many infected people, life goes on.

 “Just because people are HIV-positive doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence,” Walker exclaimed.

In Dallas, approximately 14,000 people are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Last month, The Dallas City Council voted to use nearly $2 million in Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Grant Funds from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to save those living with HIV/AIDS from the homelessness caused by increased medical costs, the reduced ability to work and a limited income. Walker hopes the story will change the way families, friends and the community at large treats those living with HIV/AIDS.   

“Maybe they won’t treat them like they have leprosy and throw them away,” she stated.

Walker is currently looking for companies to help her spread this message through supporting Reunited’s entrance in urban film festivals locally, nationally and internationally.

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2 Responses to “What Would You Do?”

  1. marvin jones October 1, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    awesome!! you should sell this one….

    Like

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