World AIDS Day 2020
The Face of AIDS Film Archive (FoA) celebrates World AIDS Day on 1 December with a short film about the Swedish AIDS history: ACTIVISM, HEALTHCARE & POLITICS - THE SWEDISH HIV & AIDS HISTORY. The film is made for educational purposes, and is the first in a planned series of films with material from the archive. This film also contains a newly recorded interview with Professor Anders Sönnerborg, who talks about how he as a young doctor worked with the first cases of AIDS in Sweden. The FoA’s website also has a timeline of global AIDS history with film clips from the archive.
The Face of AIDS Film Archive is a unique visual history of a global epidemic. It consists of about 700 hours of film from 1986 onwards, documentaries and reports as well as unedited film material. The journalist and film director Staffan Hildebrand has filmed in more than 40 countries , and interviewed researchers, AIDS activists, people who inject drugs, sex workers and many others with experience of HIV and AIDS. The films have been indexed to be searchable and provided with summaries and background material. The complete archive of more than 2 000 films is available to researchers, teachers and students via login, but about 350 films are publicly available on the archive’s website.
32 years ago, the United Nations instituted World AIDS Day, which always occurs on 1 December. It is an opportunity for people all over the world to show their support for those living with HIV and remember those who have died. It is also a day when we can reflect on the successes made over the years and what remains to be done. This year’s theme is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”.
Since the first AIDS patient was diagnosed in 1981, development has been rapid. In 1983, the virus that causes AIDS was discovered, and two years later came the HIV test and the first medications. The launch of antiretroviral drugs in 1996 marked a turning point in the history of AIDS. The disease was no longer equal to a death sentence, but a chronic condition with which it was possible to live. However, there is still no cure in sight. 38 million people still live with HIV, of which 1.7 million are children.
We also note that Staffan Hildebrand has been awarded the HIV-Sweden’s Honorary Red Ribbon for the year 2020. He receives the award for having “with courage, insight and curiosity documented one of the largest pandemics today. The unique thing about film as art is that Staffan has made it possible to translate statistics and figures into human life stories."
Staffan Hildebrand and Christina Franzén.