BY Jim Halterman
November 30 2009 8:30 PM ET
HIV was once associated primarily with impoverished areas, places where heavy drug was commonplace, and cities with large gay populations, but it can strike anywhere in the world. Another outdated notion was that if you contracted the virus, your days were automatically numbered. To coincide with World AIDS Day, Showtime will air a new documentary that stresses the reality that HIV is no longer a death sentence and that ordinary people all over the world are living full lives with the virus.
In Love in a Time of HIV, which begins airing Tuesday, we encounter three situations in which people are living with HIV. In New York City we find mother and daughter Susan and Christina, who both have HIV but are having very different experiences. In London, Andrew and Michelle would like to have a baby, but Andrew is HIV-positive and Michelle is not. In South Africa singer Tender, who was a popular contestant on the South African competition series Idols, saw her career and life take a dramatic shift when she revealed her HIV-positive status on a live broadcast.
Producer Beth Jones spoke from London last week about the making of the documentary and how even she was surprised with what she learned during the process of shooting.
Advocate.com: How did you go about finding the stories and people for the documentary?
Beth Jones: In London we very much wanted to tell the story of how someone — an HIV-positive man — would go about having a baby. You remember from the press all the doom-and-gloom stories about having HIV, and the idea actually now is that it’s not about how do I live or die but it’s about how do I go about living my life, how do I go about getting married and having children? We approached the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London and asked them, "Do you have anyone at the moment and would you contact them on our behalf and see who would be willing to talk to us?" Lucky for us, Andrew and Michelle were really great and came along for the ride.