AIDS/HIV in Jamaica: “The Glass Closet”

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A new multimedia website called “Jamaica: The Glass Closet” just launched. This project is produced by WNET’s Worldfocus in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Correspondent Lisa Biagiotti, producer Micah Fink, and director of photography Gabrielle Weiss report from the front lines of Jamaica’s battle against HIV and AIDS, “a war waged in the shadows.”

The project includes videos, articles, and testimonies from gay Jamaican men and those living with HIV. “From a strident Parliamentary figure to an openly gay preacher, ‘The Glass Closet’ crosses class, cultural and social lines to better understand why Jamaica is known to be one of the most violently homophobic societies in the world.” It examines the strict anti-sodomy laws and often violently homophobic social currents that are also skewing Jamaica’s national HIV infection rates. The project also explores the national AIDS program that uses local community leaders to educate people about the country’s free anti-retroviral medicine program and lessen the stigma surrounding the disease. Worldfocus and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting report on how Jamaica’s cultural, political, and religious traditions are making it difficult for public health officials to contain the epidemic.

Articles include Micah Fink’s “How AIDS became a Caribbean crisis” and “Jamaica’s battle against AIDS fought in the shadows,” where he breaks down the statistics that have been used to characterize Jamaica’s HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on the gay community and offers seven facts to help place these figures into a wider context (see http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/09/22/jamaicas-aids-epidemic-by-the-numbers/7354/). Also featured is an interview with Lisa Biagiotti, correspondent on a series of signature stories for Worldfocus including “There are no gay pride parades in Jamaica” and “Gay men in Jamaica must lead two separate lives” (see http://pulitzergateway.org/2009/06/there-are-no-gay-pride-parades-in-jamaica/).

“The Glass Closet” is the latest HIV in the Caribbean reporting initiative undertaken by the Pulitzer Center with support from the M-A-C AIDS Fund.

See “Jamaica: The Glass Closet” at http://pulitzergateway.org/the-glass-closet/

More coverage is also available at http://worldfocus.org/blog/tag/the-glass-closet/

Photo from http://worldfocus.org/blog/2009/09/22/jamaicas-aids-epidemic-by-the-numbers/7354/

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