Bensimon Byrne Work

Casey House



The HIV crisis in the 80’s was focused on the disease itself. Now, the disease is treatable, and stigma has become the crisis. 80% of people with HIV are afraid to disclose their status for fear of being judged and rejected by friends, loved ones, and society at large. Fear is what fuels stigma: the fear to disclose and the irrational fear of contraction.

We wanted people to experience the fear that HIV+ people face every day.


We interviewed 6 HIV+ people and created a short horror film based on their fears and experiences. We premiered the film in an abandoned amusement park that mimicked the many moments of fear in the film. Not surprisingly, fear of disclosing made it nearly impossible to find an HIV+ actor (it took a global casting search).


The film marks the first time in history a professional actor living with HIV was intentionally cast to play an HIV+ lead protagonist. 43 years into the HIV pandemic, a community finally saw their experience authentically represented.

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