Glass Closet: Sex, Stigma and HIV/AIDS in Jamaica
As the HIV/AIDS pandemic enters into its 28th year, the battle against the virus is being waged in almost every country on earth. And although HIV/AIDS is a global threat, unique cultural attitudes and religious values continue to shape how individual nations are responding to the crisis.
In Jamaica strict anti-sodomy laws and often violently homophobic social currents have resulted in a curious skewing of the national HIV infection rates. While the general population’s infection rate is currently about 1.4%, the infection rate in the gay community is more than twenty times higher — almost 32%.
This project explores how Jamaica’s unique cultural, political and religious traditions are making it harder for public health officials to control the spread of the epidemic.
Jamaica offers a fascinating high-stakes case study in contrasting social values – in which the health and long-term economic stability of a small island nation hang in the balance.
This project has been produced in partnership with WNET’s WorldFocus program and correspondent Lisa Biagiotti. A series of videos begins airing on the show the week of September 21st, accompanied by the launch of the interactive Glass Closet Pulitzer Gateway, which features the video documentaries, related print material, and an interactive space for the public to share their own stories about stigma and HIV in their communities.
Glass Closet is the third HIV in the Caribbean reporting initiative undertaken by the Pulitzer Center with support from the MAC AIDS Fund.
See related reporting:
Heroes of HIV: HIV in the Caribbean
Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica
Ida Northover is known fondly in her community as “Miss Gene.” She is a volunteer community leader battling stigma and discrimination in one of the poorest inner city communities on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica.
Jamaica’s national AIDS program is targeting community leaders like Miss Gene to educate people about HIV and change the stigma surrounding the disease. Miss Gene’s leadership has proven to be a successful model for encouraging tolerance and support for people living with HIV.
Produced and Directed by Micah Fink
Correspondent: Lisa Biagiotti
Director of Photography: Gabrielle Weiss
Editor: Gabrielle Weiss
Produced in association with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Worldfocus
With support from the M-A-C AIDS Fund