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AIDS is one of the leading causes of death for black women in the rural south. 


Wilhemina Dixon, her daughter Toni, her granddaughter Dayshal, her 92 year-old mother, and other relatives live in the area of South Carolina known as “horse country.”  The upper crust horse farms and the conservative talk radio stations set one aspect of this stage; “for sale” signs, rotting barns, and trailer homes describe another. This is Tea Party country. It’s where the articles of the Confederacy were signed.


The Dixons are the descendants of sharecroppers. Sixty-two years old, Wilhemina Dixon works odd jobs, but the most important one is caring for her granddaughter, Dayshal, 19, who was born with HIV. We first meet Dayshal at 14, as a high school freshman. She’s reticent to discuss her disease; the side effects of her medications make her sick; and she spends most of her days in bed. 


Over the next four years, Dayshal drops out of school. Her mother, a drug addict, dies of AIDS.  Dayshal says she doesn’t want to end up like her mother, but she struggles to find a way out of Williston. When she meets a group of HIV activists and joins them, telling her story publicly, she gets flamed on Facebook. Then her resolve disintegrates. She begins drinking, smoking pot, and experimenting sexually with both men and women. It is uncertain whether she will avoid her mother’s fate, since despair is all that lives in Williston.

Fighting the grim reality that awaits those living with HIV in a state hostile to public health care are advocates like Vivian Clark-Armstead of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, the only organization in the state that runs prevention and education efforts. Their story will be interwoven throughout.


This is the first film that explores the Southern black women’s experience. Their sexual networks are smaller, tongues wag faster, and church imposed stigma drives the sick underground. We talk about a global battle against AIDS, yet we ignore our own backyards.


Wilhemina Dixon

is a 62 year-old matriarch to her family of 6, all while coping with diabetes and asthma. As caregiver for her daughter and granddaughter – both of whom have HIV – Mrs. Dixon makes ends meet with state payments under Social Security and the Community and Long Term Care Program.  The budget cuts this year have lowered her checks to only $1,000 per month, but even when pressed Mrs. Dixon finds a way to care for her loved ones.

Dayshal Dicks

was born with HIV. The 19 year-old was once active in AIDS awareness campaigns, but the last few years have been a struggle for Dayshal, whose life is at a new crossroads. She dropped out of high school.  In her search for identity and companionship, this brave teen confronts the ignorance of others, the pain of her mother’s battle with HIV – and the fear that it will mirror her own.

Vivian Clark-Armstead

coordinates the HIV/AIDS testing services for the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Coalition. In September 1996, she lost her sister, Angela, to the AIDS virus. Having witnessed the effect of stigma and denial of her sister’s plight, Clark-Armstead, an HIV activist whose outreach is not only a job; it is her personal ministry.


Dr. Bambi Gaddist

serves as Executive Director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, a non-profit organization located in Columbia.  A passionate advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, Gaddist is a force of nature, compelling churches, politicians, and youth alike to become educated and invested in the fight to curb the state’s rising HIV rates. Recent funding cuts have proven challenging for Gaddist and SCHAC, but are by no means silencing.


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