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Lifting the Stigma of AIDS in Ethiopia


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Full-length film (29 mins.) Vimeo Link
Full script for BREAKING the SILENCE pdf or Word doc
Click here to download BREAKING the SILENCE


This film documents courageous HIV+ individuals, who are stepping forward and speaking out, despite the risk of social stigma. They are taking this risk in order to improve the lives of others living with the disease, and hopefully communicate the danger of infection from unprotected sexual contact.

Some are becoming active in their communities, working to reduce discrimination and secure better services. This film details their stories and profiles groups that provide counseling, income support, and prevention education.

What is unique about this film is that all of these people are speaking for themselves. These are the people living with AIDS every day of their lives, sharing their perspectives, their hopes and dreams, their fears and their courage in speaking out.


Full script for BREAKING the SILENCE
pdf or Word doc

Reviews of the Series

"Concentric Media's efforts are helping many others to find their voices and is allowing them to participate in the healing process. In the end it is their voices that will teach the community and thereby start reversing the high trend for the incidence of HIV/AIDS in nations like Ethiopia. HIV+ people have taken more than a first step in creating awareness about the disease. It is our turn to listen and get involved."
Center for Digital Storytelling

"Whether in Ethiopia or in the US, accurate information and honest communication about sexuality are essential. This includes information to dispel the myths about HIV/AIDS that lead to fear of and discrimination against those living with or orphaned by the virus, and to a reluctance to get tested for the virus. It also includes a willingness to overcome deeply rooted cultural discomfort with discussions about sexual behavior."
Submitted by NOMBUSO
The Communication Initiative Network

Goal for the Series

Our mission with these films is to take viewers well beyond the stereotypical images of AIDS in Africa. By documenting intimate moments in the day to day lives of people living with HIV - orphans being raised by neighbors,family members and in orphanages; young people who use performance and poetry to educate their peers; sex workers who teach their clients about condom use, and professional caregivers working side by side with those who volunteer their time.

We hope to inspire Ethiopians and others around the world to get involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and take part in the struggle for social justice and human dignity.

Making of the Series

by Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman

Producing these films about HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia was inspired by my work on an earlier film, WOMAN by WOMAN, a film on women's rights in India.

Working on that film awakened me
to the challenges women face in
developing countries. I was approached
by the Executive Producer of WOMAN
, and asked if I was open
to making a film about the spread
of HIV/AIDS in Africa, a disease
which was disproportionately
impacting women. I said, "Yes"
without hesitation.

As I began to do background research, I discovered that one of the most devastating aspects of the AIDS epidemic in Africa was the silence. HIV positive people, frightened of rejection and even physical abuse, would often hide their status completely or simply stay indoors. I decided to produce a film, which documents the toll of silence and the importance of speaking out. Originally, I planned to make one film. As the project evolved, it became a quintet of five individual documentaries!


Director: Dorothy Fadiman
Producers: Amy Hill, Dorothy Fadiman, Matthew Luotto, Shenaz Zack
Camera: Matthew Luotto, Henock Hailu, Cotton Coulson
Editors: Amy Hill, Matthew Luotto, Shenaz Zack
Still Images: Sisse Brimberg
Music: Aster Awake
Outreach: Maribea Berry, Johanna Gereke
Principal advisor: Dr. Agonafer Tekalegne
Support team in the USA and Ethiopia


World AIDS Day Show
This World AIDS Day Special features a discussion about the impact of HIV/AIDS on the lives of children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Studio guests Amber Stime, Founder and Executive Director of African Cradle and Peter Laugharn, Executive Director of the Firelight Foundation each explore different ways their groups help children adjust when their lives have been affected by AIDS. Amber and Peter's work includes not only children, but also their families and in some cases, adoptive parents. Short video clips complement an engaging conversation about personal experiences, breaking down stigma and the hope for future generations.

Reproductive Health, Family Planning and HIV/AIDS in Africa – UN Conference