Undetectable: The New Face of AIDS

Released: 2001
Length: 56 minutes
Producer: Jay Corcoran
Executive producer: Michael Roberts
Cinematographer: Jay Corcoran
Editor: George O’Donnell
Composer: Scott Killian

Undetectable is a feature documentary, following for three years six Boston residents on the new multi-drug therapies for HIV disease. The film examines the complex physical and psychological effects of the treatment on three women and three men of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the importance of AIDS education and advocacy within both the gay and poor and minority communities. It was broadcast on PBS, Independent Lens.

Undetectable looks to the next stage of the AIDS crisis: how many of those affected deal for the first time with hope, and how the fortunate number who respond to the drugs face both a grueling treatment regimen and the challenge of rebuilding their lives during a reprieve from what was formerly a death sentence. For many there are devastating side effects; a third cope with the desperation and frustration that accompanies the lack of any response.

Above all, the film looks to the more racially and ethnically charged social issues that still prevail in America.

The segment highlighted here is activist Belynda Dunn breaking the silence surrounding AIDS and addiction within her church, Who Touched Me Ministry, in Roxbury, MA. We also see her manage her new medications and see her decide if the medications are right for her.


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“A pungent social mosaic that in slicing across boundaries of sex, class and ethnicity has moments of heartbreaking intimacy… Besides being a powerful human document, the film is a reminder that AIDS miracle drugs are no quick fix and that the end of the epidemic is not in sight.”
Stephen Holden, New York Times

Jon Matsumoto, Variety

“Undetectable is without qualification one of the most important films of the year…remarkable.”
Brandon Judell, Popcorn Q

“So moving and powerful because it reminds us how rarely we look into the human face of AIDS..The strength of the film is its simplicity. ***1/2”
Loren King, Boston Globe

“The pain, spirit, and urgency come through in this reminder that AIDS is still with us.”
Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix

“Through Corcoran’s compassionate lens we watch an honest, gripping portrayal of the hearts and minds of six people with HIV.”
Sue Rochman, Advocate Magazine

Critic’s Choice, Boston Magazine

Les Simpson, Time OUT New York