World AIDS Day | TV Programming

So you all know by now that I am a huge advocate for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and awareness. A good number of you readers out there helped support me in my 300 mile AIDS Ride this fall so I wanted to pass some information along as today, December 1st is World AIDS Day. Thanks again to everyone that donated and sent well wishes via email. I raised $5,000 and have already signed up for next year. I hope you will once again consider supporting the fight to find a cure for AIDS in 2007.

Today's WAD is a little different though as 2006 marks the 25th Anniversary of the first documented HIV/AIDS Case. As there is not a ton of programming dedicated to the day and to educating those sitting in front of their boob tubes tonight I thought I'd let you know what is out there.

There is an amazing documentary featuring Ashely Judd and india.arie as they travel to Africa in the moving AIDS doc "TRACKING THE MONSTER" airing tonight 7pm on VH1. Ashley Judd has continued to use her celeb to promote awareness and provide education on World AIDS Day. She is afterall the YouthAIDS Global Ambassador! She also hosted a previous documentary: "AIDS: A Pop Culture History" and it is amazing! It's aired a zillion times on VH1 as well and was originally produced in 2003. Check it out if you get the chance some day.

8pm TLC "Ashley Judd and YouthAIDS: Confronting the Pandemic"
One of Hollywood's most celebrated actresses, Ashley Judd, is teaming up with her friend Salma Hayek on a one-hour documentary about Judd’s work with YouthAIDS. Judd is the goodwill ambassador for YouthAIDS and on this trip through Central America, she takes Hayek on an unforgettable journey. From the brothels of Guatemala City to the coast of Honduras, these women are on a mission to get the message out. It's a message of hope — these young people can change their future by changing the behavior that puts them at risk of infection.

On their travels, Judd, Hayek and Latin rock star Juanes (also featured in this documentary) meet with the leaders who can affect change in their countries, as well as with the women and children who are directly impacted by the ravaging disease. TLC follows along as they document the personal stories of a disease that still carries great shame and stigma in Central America.

8pm Showtime "BEAT THE DRUM"
In this award-winning, Dickensian drama, an orphaned young South African boy named Musa (Junior Singo) leaves his AIDS-ravaged village for the gritty streets of Johannesburg, where a wealthy lawyer from a privileged family learns he has the disease, and a truck driver's dangerous sexual proclivities endanger his wife. Clive Scott and Owen Sejake costar in this acclaimed drama from South African director David Hickson.

Showtime & MTVu "BLACK BOOK"
It's been 25 years since the first diagnosed case of HIV/AIDS. An entire generation has grown up without knowing a day without AIDS. This World AIDS Day, one member of that generation tells this story through film.

UCLA Junior, Darren J. Guttenberg's first film, "Black Book," will debut on MTVU and Showtime on World AIDS Day, December 1st, 2006. Guttenberg won the opportunity to have his screenplay turned into a film by professionals on the Paramount lot as the Grand Prize in the KNOW HIV/AIDS Short Screenplay Competition, along with winning the cash prize of $7,500. The Screenplay Competition was a new addition to the KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign, a multi-media, multi-platform awareness effort created by Viacom, CBS Corporation and the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2003.

The KNOW HIV/AIDS Screenplay Competition encouraged student screenwriters from selected Southern California colleges to write short scripts that addressed the topic of HIV/AIDS from the perspective of young people in America. Guttenberg's "Black Book," came in first from among the 50 qualifying entries.

"Black Book" is the story of a young man who believes himself invincible to HIV/AIDS, until he is persuaded to get an HIV test and learns of his status. The film follows this character as he deals with the reality of his diagnosis. "Black Book" refers to the book in which the character kept track of the women he had sex with. Upon learning of his status, the character then uses this book to notify his prior partners of his status and of their need to get tested.

Through his film, Guttenberg tries to elevate the importance of getting tested, before it's too late. Presently only one in four Americans infected with HIV/AIDS are aware of their status. "Black Book" stresses the point that it is impossible to tell if someone is HIV-positive just by looking at them and the only way to know your status is to get tested.

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