State of Denial


Episode Info

South Africa's triumph over decades of apartheid, and the nation's subsequent social enlightenment, has been compromised in recent years by the "state of denial" in which President Thabo Mbeki chooses to reside. As carefully pointed out in this probing documentary, Mbeki and his associates have convinced themselves that the HIV virus does not necessarily leads to AIDS -- and have held firm in this conviction despite the sobering fact that South Africa has the highest number of HIV-positive citizens in the world. The film contrasts the government's official stance with poignant interviews of six AIDS victims, and with the tireless activities of Zackie Achmat, the rebellious co-founder of the Treatment Action Campaign. Produced and directed by South African native and AIDs activist Elaine Epstein, State of Denial was first shown theatrically at the Sundance Film Festival January 20, 2003, then made its TV debut as an episode of the PBS anthology POV.