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photo Undetectable
The New Face of AIDS
By Jay Corcoran

This gripping documentary follows six women and men, straight and gay, of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, over a three-year period as they deal for the first time with hope. Though the new multi-drug therapies for HIV disease offer a possible reprieve from what was once a death sentence, those who are lucky enough to respond to the drugs nonetheless face both a grueling treatment regimen, and the complex physical and psychological challenges of rebuilding their lives. And not everyone responds.

Matilde Garcia, from Puerto Rico, is a recovering addict. In addition to struggling with the treatment regimen and its side effects, she and her family daily confront the "ordinary" difficulties of urban poverty.

Anibal Castaneda, from Nicaragua, is battling not only HIV and heroin addiction, but also chronic arthritis pain; he wages a losing struggle to practice safe sex and avoid relapse into heroin abuse.

Belynda Dunn is an African-American mother and grandmother who had rejected therapy in favor of alternative treatments, but began the drug cocktail after she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Suffering severe side effects, she now awaits a liver transplant.

Joe Pennell, a nuclear medical technician, tested positive in 1987, while his partner remains negative. Side effects and treatment failure have required repeated changes in his medications.

Carole Miselman had classic HIV symptoms for three years but, as a middle-class, married white woman with no history of drug use, she was repeatedly misdiagnosed as neurotic.

David Brudnoy is a prominent broadcast personality, and author of the memoir, Life is Not a Rehearsal. Near death from AIDS in 1994, he has dramatically recovered with the aid of combination drug therapy.

Undetectable looks at the changing face of the AIDS epidemic, posing difficult questions about our society's readiness to deal with the hanging demographics of the disease, and with the new social, political, and emotional realities created by the new treatments.

56 minutes
© 2001
Purchase $229 DVD
Order No. QA-334
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-845-6
close captioned

"A moving and important new film that, in slicing across boundaries of sex, class and ethnicity, has moments of heartbreaking intimacy. Besides being a powerful human document, the film is a reminder that AIDS miracle drugs are no quick fix and that the end of the epidemic is not in sight." Critic's Choice, New York Times

"Eloquently illustrates the physical and psychological effect that often result from the myriad drugs that AIDS patients must take." Variety

"Undetectable manages to sound the alarm on this continuing public-health crisis without being didactic or tedious. It is so moving and powerful because it reminds us how rarely we look into the human face of AIDS." The Boston Globe

"What makes Undetectable so riveting is its currency. Hope, fear, and the continued treatment are what the viewer sees in each of the faces of these very human individuals. We see their tears, their joys, and hope with them that a cure for AIDS is found in their lifetime." Educational Media Reviews

"An unflinching look at the lives of six culturally diverse men and women with advanced HIV or AIDS-related illnesses. Combining candid interviews with the patients and real time visits to their doctors, it bears witness to the changing face of AIDS. Recommended." Video Librarian

"An informative and affecting update, this program personalizes the struggle against this still-deadly disease." Booklist

Awards & Conference Screenings
World Premiere, Los Angeles Film Festival
Featured on Public Television's "Independent Lens"
Best Documentary, Shine Awards, The Media Project
Council on Foundations Film & Video Festival
World AIDS Day, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Conference on Social Work & AIDS/HIV
San Francisco International Gay & Lesbian
Film Festival
New York Film Festival
Los Angeles Independent Film Festival
Docside FIlm Festival
...and many more

Related Films
6000 A Day: The story of how the world's top decision makers knowingly failed to prevent the spread of the AIDS epidemic.

Everything's Fine: Seydou Konaté is a doctor in a remote area in Mali. But he is at the center of a global issue: bringing quality health care to rural people left behind by development.

Sexo Protegido
Does Anyone Die of AIDS Anymore?: For some patients, advances in treatment have transformed HIV from a death sentence to a chronic illness, tens of thousands are still dying of AIDS in the U.S., and more will die because of ignorance and denial.

Soft Smoke: Many people in rural communities still cling to the belief that AIDS is a big city disease, that it only affects gays and drug users, that "it can't happen here." As a result, while AIDS is declining a bit in major cities, it is actually on the rise in smaller towns and less populated areas.

Straight Up Life: Exploring the growing problem of "dual diagnosis," this video follows several young people in a program for drug and alcohol abusers who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

The Andre Show: The filmmaker and her adopted son, who was born with HIV, share the story of their extraordinary friendship, and of the challenges of Andre's short yet intense life.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website