State of Denial is a 2003 documentary film about AIDS in Africa, produced and directed by Elaine Epstein. The film highlights the errors of President Mbeki's government, which insists that there isn't enough evidence to show that HIV causes AIDS and refuses vital life-saving drugs to their people because of unknown long-term risks. The film follows the stories of HIV positive Africans and activists as well as their careers, interspersed with the harrowing statistics of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. It features various HIV positive patients coping with the disease in times when the use of ARV medicine was strongly discouraged by the South African government.
The movie captures the desperation and growing discontent of average South Africans infected and affected by the disease. Some of the subjects interviewed make heartbreaking but inspirational statements about AIDS and how living with it is like. After the death of his brother who also succumbed to the disease, a young man is filmed saying the following:
For me, it was the most traumatic time in my life because I could see myself in him. You know, he didn’t really have to die as helplessly as he did. And not only him, but thousands and thousands of people are dying unnecessarily. It makes me sick.