Channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 November, 2008, 12:00am

Red was on the losing side in the recent United States election and is an unwelcome sight on the books of many struggling businesses - but the colour is making a strong comeback.

On December 1, red ribbon pins will adorn many lapels around the world as a symbol of solidarity with communities affected by HIV and Aids. This year marks the 20th World Aids Day, first proposed in 1988 by the World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for Aids Prevention.

Some might argue that the red ribbon - ubiquitous among high-profile celebrity circles in the mid-1990s - has rallied everyone to the cause. Others think it has become a fashion cliche. For Aids-awareness workers, the issues of education and acceptance are more pressing than ever and in Hong Kong, non-profit organisation Aids Concern has made the Anti-Stigma Campaign its Aids day theme two years in a row.

Following six real-life relationships, one per episode, Love in the Time of HIV (BBC World News; premieres next Sunday at 4.30am, repeated at 7.30pm on December 1) offers an intimate view into the lives of those coping with HIV. In Johannesburg, aspiring singer and former South African Idols contestant Tender Mavundla gears up to tell the man she's just started dating that she has been HIV-positive for seven years. In London, Andrew Evans, who is HIV positive and a haemophiliac, and his wife Michelle (pictured left, with Andrew), are determined to have a child and are undergoing a process called 'sperm-washing'. In New York, a mother and daughter, both HIV positive, are coping with the girl's final school exams. The series also visits families in Mumbai, India, and St Petersburg, Russia. In a series of honest and sometimes emotional interviews, the subjects speak about how they contracted the virus, how they deal with it and how it has affected those close to them.

The movie Life Support (HBO Movies; Thursday, 11pm) gets its name from the fictional Aids outreach group that serves as an emotional clearing house for one of its volunteers. Ana Wallace (Queen Latifah) is a recovered crack addict living with HIV. Rebuilding the trust and love in the strong but damaged relationships between herself, her mother and her eldest daughter, and doing right by her youngest, is at the heart of Wallace's bid for a second chance at life. Director Nelson George based the characters on three generations of women in his family. Wallace (based on George's sister) is a study in deep-red emotions: a muted passion for life, heated bursts of anger and frustration, and, finally, a vibrant love that comes after true self-forgiveness.