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TRAVIS
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ABOUT THE PROGRAM

TRAVIS is the story of the fight to save the life of a remarkable young boy living with AIDS. Filmed over the course of three years, the documentary chronicles Travis Jefferies's daily life in the Highbridge community of the South Bronx, where he lives with his grandmother and primary caregiver, Mrs. Geneva Jefferies. It is a story of love and courage in the face of an ever-changing enemy—the AIDS virus.

In Highbridge, a predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhood in which one in every twenty teenagers is infected with the HIV virus, Travis is loved and accepted despite his illness. Everyone monitors his progress and encourages him through his seemingly endless and rigid schedule of medical treatments. They're saddened by his setbacks and find joy when his health improves. Their concern, along with the steady support of Mrs. Jefferies and a dedicated staff of professional caregivers including Dr. Heidi Beutler of New York's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, allow Travis to enjoy many of the pleasures of childhood. But on Travis's bad days, those joys seem overshadowed. He is often wracked with pain as new infections threaten to defeat him. Travis contracted the HIV virus from his mother Samantha, a crack-cocaine user who is largely absent from his life.

When we first meet him, Travis is six and has been unable to eat for months due to intractable sores on his mouth, esophagus, anus and stomach. In his short life, Travis has taken over 275 different drugs, often as many as 20 different medications a day (one of his closest friends is his neighborhood pharmacist.) Mrs. Jefferies keeps track of them all; her daily routine includes physically caring for Travis, making sure he gets his many medications, taking him to the doctor and answering his questions about the very grown-up illness he faces.
As the film progresses, we see Travis's health take a turn for the worse. The anti-retroviral drugs he had been taking, including AZT, have begun to lose their effectiveness. His doctors agree to treat him with a new series of drugs called protease inhibitors which have been shown to be successful in adults but have never been tried on children. The potential dangers of this new treatment are many, including the increased possibility of new infections. For several weeks, Travis seems to grow sicker but then the new therapy begins to take effect. As the film ends, Travis's T-cell count is at an all-time high and he is once again able to eat solid food.

TRAVIS casts light on the reality of the AIDS epidemic and the courage of both the people afflicted with the disease and their caregivers.
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

TRAVIS raises strong emotions in viewers. To further explre the issues raised in the program download the ITVS discussion questions and share them with your community.

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