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September 27, 2004

HIV Positive Voices Wins Best Documentary at New York AIDS Film Festival

"HIV Positive Voices," a documentary portraying four Baltimore residents infected with HIV, was awarded Best Documentary Under 30 Minutes at the Second Annual New York AIDS Film Festival.

The Festival, held September 17 through 23, screened just 17 films focusing on the challenges and triumphs of people with AIDS around the world, including the Emmy-award winning mini-series Angels in America. "HIV Positive Voices: An Inside Look at the AIDS Epidemic in Baltimore, Md.," was directed by Charles Stuart and produced by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs (CCP) and Stuart Television Productions.

The 29-minute documentary also won a regional Emmy award in June for Best Documentary aired in 2003 by a local television station in the National Capital/Chesapeake Bay Region, including Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

In the film, four Baltimore residents living with HIV tell their stories, including how they got infected and how HIV/AIDS impacts their lives. One segment focuses on Kimberly Smolen, who details a path of self-destruction that stemmed from her discovery that she was HIV positive from a brief relationship in college. Another segment portrays Rickeena Free, a teenager who was infected perinatally.

Baltimore is home to one of the highest AIDS rates in the nation, ranking third in reported AIDS cases per 100,000 population. It is estimated that someone becomes infected with HIV every eight hours in Baltimore.

With representatives in more than 30 countries, Johns Hopkins' CCP is a pioneer in the field of strategic, research-based communication programs for behavior change and health promotion that have helped transform the theory and practice of public health communication. For more information, visit or call Kim Martin at 410-659-6140.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Lowe at 410-955-6878 or