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PBS NewsHour Launches: 'The End of AIDS: Far From Over'

Monday Jun 11, 2018

Beginning Monday, June 11 and airing on broadcast each night this week (check local listings), PBS NewsHour, launches "The End of AIDS: Far from Over" - a five-part broadcast and digital series on the major challenges that remain in the global fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Even though the medical tools are now at hand to end the epidemic, HIV transmission continues to surge in pockets around the world. PBS NewsHour correspondent William Brangham and producer Jason Kane, in partnership with Jon Cohen of Science magazine and with the support of the Pulitzer Center, traveled to Russia, Nigeria, and Florida to spotlight the political forces, social stigma, economic currents and other factors that continue to frustrate efforts to contain the virus. The series launches as scientists, researchers and public health officials prepare for the International AIDS conference, slated to take place in Amsterdam in July.

HIV Explodes in Russia
Central Asia and Eastern Europe have the world's fastest growing HIV epidemic, and Russia accounts for more than 80 percent of those infections. The NewsHour takes viewers throughout the country to better understand why. HIV treatment often isn't provided to people who inject drugs - a group that accounts for roughly half the new infections.

At-risk populations such as gay and bisexual men are stigmatized and ignored. Nongovernmental organizations working on HIV/AIDS have largely closed up shop because of government harassment and lack of money. And the epidemic is now spilling into the general population; heterosexual couples account for a growing number of new infections.

Mother-to-Child Transmission Rampant in Nigeria
One of the greatest research achievements - and most effective interventions - is the prevention of HIV transmission from a mother to her baby. But Nigeria, a country that has 2 percent of the world's population, accounts for roughly 1 in 4 of all mother-to-child HIV infections. We explore why, and profile an NIH-funded initiative in churches in rural Nigeria that's shown promising success in reversing that trend.

Changing a Faltering Response in Florida
The sunshine state has startlingly high rates of HIV transmission, and infected people who know their status often fail to receive treatment. Miami has a higher rate of new diagnoses than any city in the country, and black, Latino, and immigrant communities are especially hard-hit.

While Florida has an aggressive new plan to combat HIV/AIDS, critics argue the state's response thus far has been slow and underfunded. In many rural parts of the state - as in much of the South - stigma, fear, and isolation keep people from care that could save lives and prevent the spread of HIV.

Online, a website for the series will explore the universal issues that block effective management of the epidemic. In Russia, Nigeria, and Florida, stigma, lack of education, and limited health resources enable the virus to spread among at-risk populations. The site will feature the entire broadcast series and provide snapshots of the people fighting the virus.

On social media, NewsHour will produce a Facebook LIVE and Periscope broadcast with Brangham and Cohen on Thursday, June 14, to include audience Q&As, as well as social videos to publish on NewsHour's social platforms throughout the week. Science magazine has a package of related stories by Cohen with photos by Misha Friedman and charts that capture the state of the epidemic, in print and online at www.sciencemag.org.

This 2018 series is a follow-up to the PBS NewsHour and Science magazine's 2016 series, "The End of AIDS?", which looked at aggressive efforts to end the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Rwanda, Kenya, and South Africa. That series was recognized with an Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the prestigious Communication Award from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

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