HIV, AIDS and Faith
Is HIV/AIDS still a problem in South Carolina? Yes it is! But surprisingly, many people think it is not—they think AIDS was a problem that peaked in the 1990s and has largely gone away. Yet Columbia, S.C. ranks 6th in the country’s major metropolitan areas in the number of new AIDS cases annually. HIV/AIDS costs the South Carolina workforce more than six billion dollars each year.
HIV/AIDS is an issue especially for minorities, women, and children. African Americans are infected by HIV seven times more than whites. Women are often infected by their own spouses. And each year, HIV-positive children are born.
There is a lot of ignorance about HIV in South Carolina. Many people should be tested for HIV but don’t know how, or don’t have insurance; others think they are being tested when having regular checkups, but in fact aren’t being tested; some don’t want to be tested because of the perception of a social “stigma” that comes with a diagnosis of HIV.
Elaine Cooper, Amy Shumaker, Steve Folks, Xavier Blake, and Lynn Cornfoot tell the story of HIV in South Carolina in a personal documentary style, focusing on people in the state—young and old—who are living with the disease. Many are receiving assistance from faith-based initiatives in local churches.
These churches have bravely carried on the fight for many years. Despite South Carolina’s always ranking in the top ten states in new AIDS cases annually, one statewide community-based prevention and education program, “Project F.A.I.T.H.” (Fostering AIDS Initiatives That Heal), was recently defunded by the South Carolina state legislature.
Additionally, public and private methods of AIDS prevention, intervention, and treatment are featured.