World AIDS Day: How the TV Networks Are Covering

Ellen DeGeneres, Showtime, and Logo, among others, are dedicating airtime to the annual global health day.

Every year, World AIDS Day is celebrated on Dec. 1 to bring awareness to the spreading disease, honor those who have died from it, and unite supporters in the fight against its spread. 

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While science has made it possible to live longer, healthier lives for those with the disease, misinformation or lack of information continues to plague efforts at halting its spread. Globally, an estimated 33.3 million people have HIV.

Several networks and shows are airing segments and specials to honor World AIDS Day’s by getting the facts out about the disease, giving information to viewers on what they can do to help stop its spread across the world, and by honoring those who have died or who are living with AIDS.

Here’s a list of THR’s picks for World AIDS Day programming.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Check local listings

Ellen DeGeneres was recently appointed the U.S. Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness. And she’ll be joined on Thursday by World AIDS Day Special Envoy, U2 frontman Bono.

In the Life: 30 Years Positive, PBS, Check local listings

30 years after the first AIDS case was reported in the US, more than a million Americans are HIV positive. One in five don’t know it and 56,000 are newly infected each year. But if you only watch mainstream media, you would have no idea of the pandemic’s ongoing impact.

30 Years From Here, Here!, Check local listings

30 Years From Here examines the trials and tribulations the AIDS pandemic has created over the past 30 years. The documentary looks at how this nondiscriminatory disease has affected many lives over many years. Hear personal accounts from people who were there in the beginning and have seen both the sorrow over lives lost and the hope generated by advances in medical research. Activists, medical experts, and people who were on the ground describe their stories from the war on AIDS. Interviewees include playwright Terrence McNally; activist and ACT UP found Larry Kramer; Marjorie Hill, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis; physician Frank Spinelli; director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell; and radio talk show host Larry Flick.

Tapestries of Hope, Showtime, 7:30 p.m.

This documentary reveals the work being done by Betty Makoni and her Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, where thousands of young women have been raped by men who mistakenly believe an urban legend perpetuated by traditional healers counseling them that sex with a virgin will purify their blood and cure them of HIV. Makoni and her volunteers shelter, feed, clothe and educate children who have been viciously abused in a culture that currently has no legal or social consequences for this heinous crime, sometimes even inflicted on newborns in infancy.

Keep a Child Alive with Alicia Keys, Showtime, 9 p.m.

Keep a Child Alive with Alicia Keys is the story of five Americans who win the chance to travel to South Africa with their favorite music superstar, Alicia Keys as she visited "Keep a Child Alive"-funded sites in Johannesburg and Durban. In the heady atmosphere of the first World Cup on African soil, the five winners are overwhelmed by the sorrow they encounter and the incredible beauty of the people they meet. With Alicia as their guide, they are transported from lives of plenty to lives interrupted. Watch their journey and try not to care.

Angels in America Part 1, Logo, 10 p.m.

Catch the filmed adapation of Tony Kushner's Emmy and Tony Award-winning play on World AIDS Day. This epic drama centers around a group of interconnected people and their reactions tothe AIDS crisis during the mid-1980's. Starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, EmmaThompson, James Cromwell, Mary-Louise Parker, Patrick Wilson, and Justin Kirk. Part 2 airs on Friday at 10 p.m.

Sex in an Epidemic, Showtime, 10:05 p.m.

AIDS activist Jean Carlomusto directs this historical account of the varying social, sexual and political reactions to the disease's spread and the way it transformed how Americans thinks about sexual practices with the creation of the "safe sex" concept. Included is a look at the struggle of HIV educators and community groups to combat the apathy and fear that greeted the rise of AIDS, particularly on the part of lawmakers, who passed a bill prohibiting federal funding for any educational materials "condoning the homosexual lifestyle."

For more information on World Aids Day, visit its website.

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