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CNN Presents: Living with AIDS

Sorious Samura carries a dead child at Lewanika General Hospital in Zambia.



'Living with AIDS' airs Saturday, December 3 at 1200 and 2200 GMT; Sunday, December 4 at 1300 and 1700 GMT.



AIDS (Disease)

MONGU, Zambia (CNN) -- In his latest documentary, award-winning African journalist Sorious Samura travels to Zambia to find out about the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa.

Living with a family beset by AIDS, and working in the region's largest hospital for four weeks, Samura discovers that the complex African culture is exacerbating the spread of the disease and its social toll.

Through conversations with hospital patients, wives and mothers, partygoers and sex workers, Samura uncovers the shocking truth behind the rate of infection among the young.

He discovers recklessness towards knowingly infecting sexual partners, a disdain for using condoms for personal protection, and a reluctance to educate offspring about safe sexual relations.

"It's up to us Africans on the frontline to do whatever is necessary to wage war against this horrible disease, starting with accepting the unpalatable truth about the impact of our cultural heritage," Samura says.

"I've been charged with potential disloyalty by my fellow Africans in exposing their attitudes to their 'private' lives," Samura explains.

"I tell them that it is only by recognizing and accepting the true reality of what is happening that we can begin to address ways of controlling this crippling epidemic," Samura said.

Dr. Catherine Sozi, Country Coordinator of UNAIDS in Zambia says: "This documentary reveals the hardships brought on by HIV, contrasted with the day-to-day life taken for granted in so many parts of the world.

"Life's challenges take on another meaning in this film, yet people still care for each other and the smiles still come through the tears. Twenty years in to the epidemic we are seeing some solutions but it's not nearly enough yet."

Rena Golden, Senior Vice President CNN International, said: "'Living with AIDS' has the kind of editorial value and educational impact that work side by side. CNN is pleased to be a part of the awareness drive."

Samura speaks frankly about living conditions and their impact on children's understanding of intimate relations.

"Parents need their own bedrooms. We all know that children model their behavior on their parents. Exposure to adult intimacy means some girls are losing their virginity as early as six years old."

In the week surrounding World Aids Day, December 1, "Living with AIDS" will be seen internationally on CNN by a potential audience of more than 186 million television households and hotel rooms.

And Samura said he hopes viewers will be uncomfortable with what they see.

"The global premiere of my documentary is an important opportunity to communicate to a wide audience how easily HIV can be spread, and to gain international recognition of the sensitive issues involved," says Samura.

"This is crucial to changing the statistics in the fight against AIDS," he adds.

  • "Living with AIDS" premieres internationally on CNN Wednesday, November 30 at 1400 and replays at 1800 and midnight GMT.
    Additional GMT airtimes: Thursday December 1 (World AIDS Day) at 0100, 1900 and midnight; Saturday December 3 at 1200 and 2200; and Sunday December 4 at 1300 and 1700.
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