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Sunday, September 21, 2014

25 to Life: Take 3

William Brawner, the main character in the documentary 25 to Life, built up the courage to share his HIV status on a local radio program after keeping it hidden for 25 years. The documentary showed how friends, family members and female sex partners felt betrayed. 

William Brawner & his wife
To Brawner’s benefit, he has a solid support system from some dear friends and family members, which includes his mother, as well as his loving and supportive wife, who is not infected with the virus. 

Some people who are HIV positive are not as fortunate as Brawner, especially when it comes to a place to lay their heads in a home of their own. 

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, it’s imperative for people living with HIV/AIDS to have access to comprehensive healthcare and to follow rigorous drug therapies. Without a solid support system people living with the virus are teetering on the brink of homelessness. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallied the numbers and found that there are roughly more than one million people who are living with HIV/AIDS in America. Many of them are at risk of losing their housing because of rising medical costs, limited income, or reduced ability to continue working due to related illnesses associated with the virus.

Non-profit organizations like Housing Works has stepped up to tackle the issue. Housing Works mission is to “end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.” 

Vincent Harris, who is a board member of Housing Works took a moment to sit down with Arts of Cultures after 25 to Life made its debut at the American Black Film Festival in New York City. I had a conversation with Vincent during the after screening party, which was held at Housing Works’ Chelsea Thrift Shop where he talked about how the organization was created and his thoughts of the documentary 25 to Life. 

Related stories: 

25 to Life: Take 1

25 to Life: Take 2

*Help 25 to Life get to the big screen and donate via Indiegogo 

* 25 to Life trailer  * 

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