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about-movie-01“Why Us?” Left Behind and Dying” follows a group of inner-city African-American teenagers, ages 14-17, as they explore the root causes of the HIV epidemic in their own community.


The students participate as “co-researchers” mentored by award-winning director/producer Claudia Pryor Malis, who leads the team in a deep dive that spans from their home on “the hill,” the traditional black neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA., to cutting edge HIV/AIDS research laboratories in Uganda, Cameroon and at Tulane University, all in a quest to understand “Why Us?”.


about-movie-03The New York Times reported on December 4, 2013: “The AIDS epidemic in America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and Hispanic men who have sex with men. Despite years of progress in preventing and treating H.I.V. in the middle class, the number of new infections nationwide remains stubbornly stuck at 50,000 a year – more and more of them in these men, who make up less that 1 percent of the population.”

For most, that one percent is a remote medical statistic. For these young filmmakers, it is an epidemic that surrounds them. To understand it, they interview some of the world’s leading HIV research scientists. Then they turn their cameras on their own neighbors – heterosexuals, homosexuals, and intravenous drug users “on the hill” who are HIV-infected – and as the film unfolds they confront some of the common social habits that are fueling the epidemic. As the film unfolds the student filmmakers discuss their ideas and beliefs about HIV as well as their own safe and/or unsafe sexual practices.

“Why Us?” is an unprecedented and unvarnished examination of HIV/AIDS within America’s black, urban communities. The filmmakers have also produced an educational edition of the film with 12 extra segments, exploring the specific issues raised within the documentary film, and how those issues contribute to the spread of HIV.

Also available is a curriculum specifically designed for classrooms and community outreach groups.home-button2