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Positive Youth

Show Description



Positive Youth is a one hour television documentary which follows four HIV+ positive youth (late teens to 27) in four different N. American cities in cinéma vérité style.

Growing up in the 1980s and 90s we were hammered with terrifying statistics of HIV/AIDS.  Thirty years in, we are still learning.  What education do youth receive now and why is the youth infection rate still the highest?

We have seen retrospective documentaries on the AIDS crisis and interviews with survivors but what about the positive youth of today?  We aim to feature accessible and inspirational individuals and the often-rocky road that they’ve travelled to get here.

Each of the four subjects have been selected to create a dynamic perspective on the reality of living positive today.  Medical and psychological experts weigh in to provide up-to-date facts and a historical context to the reality of living positively.

In life we are inherently afraid of the unknown: of death.  Positive Youth shows this in action by exploring the social stigma these young people must rise above each day.

The main conflict will lie with our audience.  We intend to have our subjects, and our audience answer difficult questions about their own level of discrimination when it comes to HIV/AIDS.  Ultimately we want the audience to feel educated with a new sense of empathy and understanding for positive people.

Vancouver, Toronto, Orlando, Phoenix, New York, Victoria – straight 18-year-old impoverished First Nations woman, gay 25-year-old white urbanite, 27-year-old club kid jet-setter, black 23-year-old young man.  HIV does not discriminate.

For the first time, young positive people open their homes and hearts to us – offering a no holds barred access into their lives.


Our Young Star Subjects:

Following in her mom’s footsteps: 18-year-old Rakiya Larkin

Rakiya“Without her strength I would not be who I am today; I cannot imagine life without her.  Her strength and love radiates off of her,” says Rakiya Larkin of her mother, Kecia.  Although Rakiya has grown up HIV-negative she has become a strong community activist, encouraged by her mother, friends and family.  For the past eleven summers, she has attended Camp Moomba, a camp for kids affected by or living with HIV.  This summer Rakiya took on the role of a counsellor – a leadership position that she takes very seriously.  “I have realized, overall, I cannot save everyone at camp nor can I make sure that everyone is taking their medication.  What I can do is support everyone to the best of my ability – and hope that they are loving life and enjoying themselves to the best of their ability.”

“We should have a voice in making the world a better place: we have the knowledge and the skills to change the outcome for future generations,” she says.  This message is echoed through Larkin’s own life path and choices: in July 2010, she was crowned Miss Victoria Island.  Being an inspiration to future generations is a gift she learned from her mother.  When asked what message she would like to give HIV+ teens of today, Rakiya says, “Take advantage of the one life you have; you not only hurt yourself when you don’t take your medications and take care of yourself, you hurt everyone around you who loves you.  All I have to say is that I love you, never give-up on yourself and trust that at the end of the day everything will be all right.  Have faith.”

Club Kid Extraordinaire – Austin Head

AustinAustin Head has achieved distinction by succeeding in his performance art at every step of development with a mission to bring something unique and innovative to entertainment.  Beginning in Phoenix, Arizona, Austin quickly became popular with his song Label Whore which manifested into a four day music video release event drawing 3000+ people to the largest bars in Phoenix. Austin Head has been featured in countless publications and newspapers, heard performing live over the air-waves, and seen performing at the biggest nightclubs in the country.

Austin Head has now relocated to New York City to build upon everything Phoenix has given him. After only a brief time in NYC, Austin Head has now become a bi-coastal entertainer, musician and DJ working along side NYC’s top talent.  Upon discovering he is HIV+ Austin began the dating website as a safe and confidential place for positive people to meet.

 23, Black & Positive –  Christopher Brooks  

Chris Brooks“I am HIV positive, and I don’t blame anybody for it — not myself or anybody else.”

We are encouraged to think about prevention and transmission in terms of responsibility. Someone must be at fault. Culturally, we hunt for secret villains. Today’s “down low” black man is but the latest boogeyman at which we’ve pointed our fingers — the latest of the so-often racialized monsters at which we can direct HIV blame rather than have honest conversations about sex and relationships.  HIV disproportionately affects African Americans, regardless of sexuality. They account for half of the people living with HIV/AIDS, but just 13 percent of the overall U.S. population. Studies also suggest African Americans are least likely to know their HIV status, with the younger being less aware. Similar patterns exist among men who have sex with men, of all races. No talking and no testing, just finger pointing.

Christopher is not one to point fingers – he is an outspoken advocate with his own Youtube channel called TheRedLife where he publicly discusses his journey of living positive and answers questions from his followers.

Expert Weigh-In


Dr. Frank Spinelli is the former Clinical Director of HIV Services at New York City’s Cabrini Medical Center. Today, he serves the community in a more comprehensive capacity as a board certified internist, with a large HIV+ and gay men’s health private practice in Manhattan. Dr. Spinelli is also an Associate Clinical Professor of New York Medical College.

Dr. Spinelli is the monthly healthcare columnist for The Advocate, the oldest continuing gay publication in the United States and the host of Ask the Doctor on He appears regularly on Sirius radio’s top-rated Morning Jolt with Larry Flick. Dr. Spinelli maintains a full lecture schedule where he is able to speak on gay men’s health and HIV.

Expert2Dr. Silvia Guillemi is the Director of the Clinical Education and Training program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. She also works as the Clinical Coordinator in the John Ruedy Immunodeficiency Clinic (IDC), a collaboration between the BC Centre for Excellence and Providence Health Care.






Episode 01 of 01

Positive Youth is a one hour television documentary which follows four HIV+ positive youth (late teens to 27) in four different N. American cities in cinéma vérité style.

For the first time, young positive people open their homes and hearts to us – offering a no holds barred access into their lives.