Sex in an Epidemic

a documentary by Jean Carlomusto
61 minutes, color, USA, 2010

File under: All Films, Civil Rights, Health, HIV/AIDS, Home Video, LGBT Studies, Women Studies


By focusing specifically on the need for honest comprehensive sex education, this engaging documentary provides a sociocultural perspective on the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its ongoing impact on the most effected populations including the gay, African-American and Latino communities. Incorporating interviews and media footage from the earliest days of the AIDS panic through the present, “Sex in an Epidemic” reminds us that, though the world has been living with the realities of HIV/AIDS for nearly 30 years, ignorance and prejudice about the disease must still be combated.


“‘Sex in an Epidemic performs the important work of remembering a lineage of queer AIDS activist work that aims to de-stigmatize sex and that continues to have relevance now even as it must be transformed by work in a range of different communities, including people of color, prisoners, and those outside the U.S.” Ann Cvetkovich, Professor, University of Texas, Austin

“In ‘Sex in an Epidemic,’ Jean Carlomusto, a doyenne of AIDS activist video, creates a haunting and elegiac history of US safer sex (video) activism and education. Taking up (and using clips from) the form of Carlomusto’s earliest activist work for GMHC’s groundbreaking cable access show,  ‘Living With AIDS,’ Carlomusto re-animates the lost AIDS activist community of the 1980s and 1990s by editing their radical accounts and actions into a vibrant testimony to one community’s radical efforts at life-saving education. ‘Sex in an Epidemic’ is a moving testament to the power of remembering, representing, learning, and activism.” Alexandra Juhasz, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, Pitzer College, or AIDS TV: Identity, Communtiy and Alternative Video (Duke 1995).

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