About the film

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Five strangers facing shame and potential death from AIDS form an unlikely friendship that transforms them from ordinary citizens to extraordinary activists. They struggle against stigma and fear; suicide and isolation. Fifteen years later, against all odds, they are still alive. Their friendship becomes a remarkable story: a quiet victory of meaningful, beautiful lives in a rapidly evolving South Africa.

Antiretroviral treatment has turned HIV into a chronic disease, yet there are almost 1,000 AIDS deaths every day. Out of shame and fear of persecution, many delay treatment or stop taking medication. These five friends share the intimacies of their lives in the hope of slowly breaking stigma by helping people understand what it means to live with HIV.

At the height of the epidemic and amidst a controversial political response, Nomfundo meets Thembi, Khaya, Ntuthu, and Zanana. They form an empowering network for people living with HIV. As friends and family die from AIDS, they fight harder. Their friendship gives strength to their daily struggles: of having children, fighting cancer, and being lesbian in South Africa.

Life is never easy; HIV can make it far harder. Yet, these friends share a powerful optimism. Positively Beautiful shows the beauty of their lives, the strength of their friendship, and their hopes for the future. It challenges the image of AIDS in Africa and shows a country of nuance, courage, and wonder. Positively Beautiful is a story about life, love, and friendship in the age of HIV, one that is complex and inspiring.

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