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STEPPING FORWARD: Men Teaching and Learning about HIV/AIDS

 

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Synopsis

STEPPING FORWARD documents certain populations of men, including truck drivers, farmers and soldiers, who are among those more vulnerable to infection. Some of these men, when away from home for weeks and often months at a stretch, do expose themselves to HIV/AIDS through unprotected sex. A variety of programs within Ethiopia show ways in which these men are learning about safe sex. As a result of intensive education programs, individuals from within these groups now practice safer sex and are able to teach others about prevention. This film documents outreach efforts by and for men of all ages, from all walks of life.

In one scene, the filmmakers visit a military base. There we document a class for soldiers (all in uniform) in which teaching ranges from instructions on how to use a condom to small discussion groups where they discuss challenging situations and temptations that they face with each other.

To quote one of the interviewees, a leader in the Ethiopian Defense Forces: “Compared to the civilians, the military community is more exposed to various diseases. One of these is HIV/AIDS. As most of the soldiers are young, they have a stronger desire for sex. In addition, the army life is intertwined with missions. The soldier might live today, but is unsure of his fate tomorrow. Thus, the soldiers take risks and expose themselves to dangerous situations.”

Transcription

Full script for STEPPING FORWARD: Men Teaching and Learning about HIV/AIDS - pdf or Word doc

Reviews for the Series

"Concentric Media's efforts are helping many others to find their voices and is allowing them to participate in the healing process. In the end it is their voices that will teach the community and thereby start reversing the high trend for the incidence of HIV/AIDS in nations like Ethiopia. HIV+ people have taken more than a first step in creating awareness about the disease. It is our turn to listen and get involved."
AMY L. HILL

"Whether in Ethiopia or in the US, accurate information and honest communication about sexuality are essential. This includes information to dispel the myths about HIV/AIDS that lead to fear of and discrimination against those living with or orphaned by the virus, and to a reluctance to get tested for the virus. It also includes a willingness to overcome deeply rooted cultural discomfort with discussions about sexual behavior."
THE COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE NETWORK

Making of the Series

by Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman

Producing these films about HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia was inspired by my work on an earlier film, WOMAN by WOMAN, a film on women's rights in India.

Working on that film awakened me to the challenges women face in developing countries. I was approached by the Executive Producer of WOMAN by WOMAN, and asked if I was open to making a film about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, a disease which was disproportionately impacting women. I said, "Yes" without hesitation.

As I began to do background research, I discovered that one of the most devastating aspects of the AIDS epidemic in Africa was the silence. HIV positive people, frightened of rejection and even physical abuse, would often hide their status completely or simply stay indoors. I decided to produce a film, which documents the toll of silence and the importance of speaking out. Originally, I planned to make one film. As the project evolved, it became a quintet of five individual documentaries!

Credits

Director: Dorothy Fadiman
Producers: Amy Hill, Dorothy Fadiman, Matthew Luotto, Shenaz Zack
Camera: Matthew Luotto, Henock Hailu, Cotton Coulson
Editors: Amy Hill, Matthew Luotto, Shenaz Zack
Still Images: Sisse Brimberg
Music: Aster Awake
Outreach: Maribea Berry, Johanna Gereke
Principal advisor: Dr. Agonafer Tekalegne
Support team in the USA and Ethiopia

Events

World AIDS Day Show
This World AIDS Day Special features a discussion about the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Studio guests Amber Stime, Founder and Executive Director of African Cradle and Peter Laugharn, Executive Director of the Firelight Foundation each explore different ways their groups help children adjust when their lives have been affected by AIDS. Amber and Peter's work includes not only children, but also their families and in some cases, adoptive parents. Short video clips complement an engaging conversation about personal experiences, breaking down stigma and the hope for future generations.

Reproductive Health, Family Planning and HIV/AIDS in Africa – UN Conference