HIV INFECTED JOURNALIST TO TELL HER STORY IN A DOCUMENTARY

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 30, 1999 - Pasifik Nuis/Nuiswire)---Maire Bopp, a University of the South Pacific journalism graduate from Tahiti who went public about having HIV last December, is now the subject of a new television documentary.

Director Ingrid Leary, a USP journalism lecturer, said the documentary would feature the life of Ms. Bopp and the effects of HIV/AIDS on her family, community and friends.

"It's not a 'let's not have sex or let's learn how to wear condom' video, but it is a program that aims to examine, uncover and hold up somehow to the public eye the fears people have surrounding HIV/AIDS," Ms. Leary said.

"It's really looking at the way Maire is positively living her life. She is someone living with AIDS and I think this film will be a surprise to a lot of people."

Ms. Leary said the main objective of the TV documentary was to show that although this was a virus that needs to be prevented, it was not something that needed to involve so much fear and discrimination in the Pacific.

The program, shot in Tahiti and Rarotonga, is funded by Fiji's Health Ministry and the French Embassy in Suva with support from the Pacific Community Media Centre, and sociology department and the journalism program at USP.

Ms. Leary showed rough edits from the documentary in progress and spoke of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in the Pacific during a presentation to the film's funders and postgraduate research students at USP.

The program is due to be released later this year.

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