Nearly half of the one million people in the U.S. infected with HIV are black men, women, and children—even though blacks make up just 12.6% of the population. How and why is HIV so prevalent among black Americans? The PBS documentary Endgame: AIDS in Black America explores these issues through personal stories and interviews with such luminaries as Magic Johnson and Julian Bond, as well as leading doctors, educators, and social activists. Mailman School faculty member Robert Fullilove, EdD, clinical professor of Sociomedical Sciences, appears as a commentator throughout the film, providing a framework as well as a conclusion for the documentary. Endgame: AIDS in Black America premieres Tuesday, July 10, 9:00 PM, EDT.
The documentary details how society “allowed the virus to spread deep into the black community.” According to Dr. Fullilove, black leaders faced a quandary about taking responsibility and a leadership role when confronted with the disease. He said, “There’s a list of problems that people in the black community faced. And not surprisingly, black folks want their leaders to do something about them.” In the 80s when they were told that AIDS needed to be added to the list, the response was…. ‘Where am I going to put it?’” Dr. Fullilove said.
The author of numerous articles in the area of minority health, Dr. Fullilove is known for his work to fight substance abuse, addiction, and sexually transmitted infections. In 2011, Dr. Fullilove was named one of 20 “Positive Changemakers” by AIDS Service Center New York City and, in 2010, POZ Magazine named him to its POZ 100 list of the most influential people working in the field of HIV/AIDS in the U. S.
A one-hour interview with Dr. Fullilove and filmmaker Renata Simone by NPR’s Terry Gross aired Thursday, July 5, on the program, Fresh Air (AIDS in Black America: A Public Health Crisis)