To commemorate World AIDS Day, (RED) and Apple are re-releasing The Lazerus Effect via iTunes.
The Lazarus Effect documents transformative effects that ARVs have on people, families and communities with accessible treatment. The film traces the story of Constance (Connie) Mudena, who lost all three of her children to AIDS. When she and her husband both tested positive for HIV, treatment was not readily available. At the end of each month, they had to choose between life-saving medicine, paying rent, or buying food. Constance eventually heard about a clinic with free drugs available, was one of the first people enrolled, and now serves as an HIV Peer Education Supervisor. The film follows gravely ill individuals beginning treatment, then a few months later progressing to health.
Here’s the latest information we have on those featured in the film…
Bwalya: Tragically, Bwalya passed away on August 10, 2010 at the age of 12. She had been battling complications from HIV and ultimately died from heart failure. She was an HIV positive child who had lost both her parents. We first met her in 2009 and filmed her recovery from near death to robust health with the help of ARVs. Everyone who met her was inspired by her quiet determination, and delighted in her progress and the way she lit up over the fact that she was now top of her school and back playing her favorite games with her friends. Her death was a tragic loss for all who knew and loved her.
Every day 400 babies are born with HIV, but with continued focus and commitment, it’s possible that we could have a world where no child is born with HIV by 2020.
Concillia: “There was nothing I could do for myself. I could not feed myself properly. I could not look after my daughter. After I started medication it was like I was resurrected.” When (RED) first met Concillia she was at death’s door. Suffering from HIV, she was not taking medication and felt hopeless and worried about the future. She began taking antiretroviral (ARV) medicine and 90 days later she was brought back to life. The importance of access and adherence to ARV treatment is something that Concillia has been teaching others in her community by telling her own story and working as a counselor. In 2015, Concilia gave birth to an HIV free baby.
Connie: Meet Connie and Lubona from Zambia. After losing all three of her children to HIV in the 90’s, Connie tested positive for the virus and went on treatment. Today, she’s alive and thriving, and gave birth to a healthy, beautiful HIV-negative daughter, Lubona, in 2012.
Paul: We have not been in touch with Paul as he moved away from Lusaka and do not know where he is living.