The Lifetime Original Movie "Girl, Positive" will premiere June 25 at 9pm ET/PT, in advance of National HIV Testing Day (June 27). The movie's tagline is "Everyone is connected. No one is immune." It addresses teenagers' awareness and misconceptions of HIV, by focusing on an average high school senior who discovers that she may be infected. Lifetime's synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Rachel is as stunned as anyone when word spreads through her upper-middle-class community that Jason, a popular athlete who recently died, was an IV drug user. But it's the next bomb that really hits home: Jason, a former intimate partner, may have been HIV positive. Wanting to learn more about HIV, Rachel is urged to visit the local AIDS clinic by a substitute teacher, Sarah, but is too scared to face up to the possibility that she may be infected. So Rachel confides her fears to Sarah, who reveals that she has been secretly living with HIV for more than seven years. Unfortunately, secrets have a way of getting out—and both women soon learn that gossip, like disease, can spread swiftly.
According to the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy, half of all new HIV infections occur in people under 25. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 180,000 to 280,000 people in the United States are unaware of their HIV-positive status.
Andrea Bowen (Desperate Housewives) stars as Rachel, with Jennie Garth (What I Like About You; Beverly Hills, 90210) as her sympathetic substitute teacher; Sarah. S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order) plays Sarah's friend who works in an AIDS clinic.
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Andrea Bowen hopes that this movie will educate teen girls about basic HIV prevention:
I really hope that they just absorb some of the knowledge from the movie. The film does a good job with getting the message out there without preaching it to people. Just to know simple things—how can you get it? How can you protect yourself from it? I just want the basic idea on how to protect yourself to come across.
Jennie Garth feels this movie is important to start a conversation and raise awareness about HIV in a new generation of youth that didn't experience the HIV prevention campaigns of the 90's:
You know, I think about 10 years ago, maybe 18 years ago, AIDS was all you heard about … HIV/AIDS was something that was talked about all the time and they were really trying to push education and get it out there. And then it sort of disappeared … Kids don't think about it anymore… Kids don't think about the passing of sexually transmitted diseases. And this is a thought-provoking, conversation-provoking movie. I'm really proud of it because it's going to give people something to talk about and it's going to keep the awareness out there.
Kelly West at TV Blend gives the movie a good review:
As a movie, Girl, Positive is fairly entertaining and not nearly as preachy as it could have been, given the subject. The lessons we're meant to learn from Girl, Positive are embedded in the story. The movie seems to go out of its way to appeal to kids and adults alike. Parents should not only watch this movie, they should bring their kids into the room and let them watch it as well.
This film is one way that Lifetime is continuing its commitment to raising awareness about important issue for families and teens. The Network will air two PSAs (public service announcements) during Girl, Positive—one will feature Bowen and Garth encouraging viewers to learn more about HIV; the other will feature Merkerson discussing HIV and how it affects women of color. Lifetime has also created a Facebook group and will donate one dollar for each new member; donations will be distributed to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Advocates for Youth, and Cable Positive. These groups have partnered with Lifetime to provide additional information and resources on HIV.
Watch the trailer for Girl, Positive below—and tune in to Lifetime on Monday at 9pm.