Film Boosts HIV Prevention Messages

Inside Story: The Science of HIV and AIDSInside Story: The Science of HIV and AIDS

Kalu, a rising Kenyan footballer, migrates to South Africa to establish his career. A romantic encounter leads to the unwelcome realization that he is HIV positive. Kalu goes through an emotional journey as he comes to terms with his diagnosis, encountering social and financial challenges along the way. This is Inside Story: The Science of HIV and AIDS.

USAID, in partnership with Management Sciences for Health’s Building Local Capacity for Delivery of HIV Services in Southern Africa Project (BLC), helped produce Inside Story. This docudrama, created for African audiences, premiered on World AIDS Day 2011in Johannesburg to the first 500 of an eventual targeted 300 million African viewers. The film is an exciting new tool to counter HIV-message fatigue and explain the epidemic’s complexity to a wide audience. Animated sequences showing the HIV virus traveling through the human body at different stages of the infection are interwoven with Kalu’s story.

BLC worked closely with Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership (DCGEP), managing USAID funds and providing technical input. BLC served on the film’s advisory board to give scientific, cultural, and artistic direction, and reviewed the script to ensure accuracy in the scientific representation of the virus, and the script’s relevance to African audiences. Other private and non-profit sector partners included Chevron, PEPFAR, Access Bank, SEACOM, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

The film will be distributed through cinemas, television, and facilitated screenings in 2012. As part of the distribution plan, public health organizations and schools will use facilitator guides and educational posters to reinforce the film’s messages. An impact evaluation will assess audiences’ understanding of the science of HIV and AIDS, as well as the film’s impact on existing HIV interventions and behavior change.