World AIDS Day, the international event designed to strengthen global efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS, will be observed Saturday, Dec. 1. In honor of this endeavor, many broadcast and cable networks will air special programming to further educate the public about the ongoing health crisis that affects us all.
"The AIDS epidemic is still a reality for millions of people around the world," GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said in a release. "World AIDS Day is a powerful way to refocus media attention on HIV awareness and prevention, as well as urging all of us to remember those living with HIV and AIDS."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States alone there are over one million people living with HIV. An estimated 40,000 Americans are still becoming infected with the HIV virus ever year; a majority of these are young people under the age of 25. Globally, the epidemic has taken the lives of over 25 million people.
When AIDS was first revealed to be a major health crisis, the public was gripped by fear, much of it fed by erroneous and anti-gay media coverage. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) was founded in 1985 to protest this defamatory and sensational reporting.
World AIDS Day Programming Highlights (listed by date and time):
Positive Voices: Women and HIV (Showtime, 9:00 PM ET/PT)
This documentary, hosted by actress and activist Gloria Reuben, explores the lives of six women who have been affected by HIV and AIDS.
India's Hidden Plague (National Geographic Channel, 10:00 PM ET/PT)
Ashley Judd, the Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, hosts this special about the rapid spread of HIV in India. World premiere.
The Ride: Seven Days to End AIDS (Logo, 8:00 AM ET/PT)
This original documentary series follows a diverse group of cyclists taking part in AIDS/Lifecycle 4, a 585-miles race to raise money for HIV and AIDS research.
Longtime Companion (Logo, 11:00 AM ET/PT)
Set in 1981, but made in 1990, this feature film follows eight people's lives and shows how they were each affected by the AIDS crisis, when AIDS was being referred to as a "gay cancer."
It's My Party (Logo, 1:00 PM ET/PT)
In this 1996 feature, Nick (Eric Roberts) reveals to Brandon (Gregory Harrison) that he is HIV-positive. As a result, Brandon leaves him. Determined to die with good memories, Nick gathers his friends for one last hurrah.
Stephen Fry: HIV & Me (Sundance Channel, 2:00 PM ET/PT)
In this new documentary, out British actor Stephen Fry examines HIV and AIDS in Great Britain today.
Beat the Drum (Showtime, 3:00 PM ET/PT)
This film tells the story of Musa, a young orphan who leaves his Zulu village in search of his uncle in Johannesburg. While on his quest, Musa learns about the "mysterious illness" plaguing the country.
Behind the Red Door (Logo, 4:00 PM ET/PT)
In this 2003 drama, a gay man dying of AIDS-related causes (Kiefer Sutherland) reunites with his sister (Kyra Sedgwick) to confront their violent past.
The Origins of AIDS (Sundance Channel, 4:00 PM ET/PT)
This documentary investigates a theory detailed in journalist Edward Hooper's controversial book The River, addressing the possibility that the deadliest disease known to humankind came as a result of a risky, mass inoculation of an experimental polio vaccine during the late 1950s.
I Want to Be a Pilot (Sundance Channel, 5:30 PM ET/PT)
This award-winning short film is based on the testimonies of 50 AIDS orphans in the Kibera area of Nairobi. U.S. television premiere.
Positive Voices: Matthew Cusick (Sundance Channel, 5:45 PM ET/PT)
This 12-minute documentary focuses on the workplace discrimination against Matthew Cusick, an HIV-positive performer with Cirque du Soleil.
In the Gloaming (Logo, 6:00 PM ET/PT)
In this 1997 film, Danny (Robert Sean Leonard) is a gay man dying of AIDS-related causes. He returns home so that his mother (Glenn Close) can take care of him.
Jeffrey (Logo, 7:30 PM ET/PT)
In this 1995 dramedy, Jeffrey (Steven Weber) is a young gay man living in New York City, frustrated with the singles scene. He then meets Steve (Michael T. Weiss), the man of his dreams who happens to be HIV-positive. Jeffrey must get over the fear of Steve dying before he can experience what will be the greatest love of his life.
3 Needles (Showtime Too, 9:00 PM ET/PT)
This 2006 feature film weaves three separate tales of how HIV and AIDS has affected humanity on a global scale.
Close to Leo (here!, check listings)
When 21-year-old Leo announces to his family that he is HIV-positive, it is decided that his 11-year-old brother Marcel is too young to understand. But when the two travel to Paris together, Marcel confronts Leo with his suspicions. This 2002 film is in French, with English subtitles.
Days (here!, check listings)
Claudio has been HIV-positive for 10 years. He feels trapped in his boring life until he meets a handsome waiter named Andrea, who restores his faith in love. This 2001 drama is in Italian, with English subtitles.
Here to Remember (here!, check listings)
Hosted by Leslie Jordan, this 2004 special includes a series of personal accounts from celebrities telling stories of loved ones they have lost to AIDS.
The Unknown Cyclist (here!, check listings)
A man's dying wish is for the people in his life to participate in a 450-mile charity bicycle ride through Northern California. Nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie or Miniseries in 2000.
A Year Without Love (here!, check listings)
In this 2005 film, Pablo is an HIV-positive gay poet. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, he goes on a journey to find the love of his life.
The Ribbon of Hope Celebration (here!, airing Spring 2008)
Taking place in Los Angeles on Dec. 1, this annual awards ceremony honors excellence in television programming that raises awareness about HIV and AIDS. This year, TV Cares honors American Public Television's long-running series In the Life for Outstanding Coverage of HIV/AIDS.