Síndrome de la desaparición femenina

Lucía Egaña Rojas

Narrating own story to build community has been the key to the political articulation of HIV activism, which has also allowed for politicizingthea condition laden with stigma and social vulnerability. From the beginning, the epidemic was constructed by the media as an infection that primarily affected homosexual men, which spread the false belief of female invulnerability.

Síndrome de la desaparición femenina [Female Disappearance Syndrome] is a documentary and testimonial video based on the transference of voices, where activists committed to HIV narrate experiences others. Each body stages the voices of women whose image we will never know, due to the "masculinizing imaginary of the infection" (Meruane, 2012: 101).


Lucía Egaña has worked with materials compiled by the Argentine psychologist Julieta Obiols who, for three years, interviewed heterosexual women, many of them mothers, HIV carriers from the outskirts of Buenos Aires, living in precarious socio-economic conditions. The interviewees denied the experience they were going through, blaming or victimizing themselves for what was happening to them, showing positions that reflect the place that women have had and still have in the social imaginary of the epidemic: as bad wives and bad mothers or blamed for a sexuality considered excessive.

This displacement of the voice, and the use of the bodies of the most visible activists, allows us to broaden the imaginaries of HIV while showing how the experiences that have embodied the disease in the media respond to masculinized narratives marked by whiteness. Finally, and for obvious reasons, "those who die from HIV-AIDS-related causes are overwhelmingly poor, indigenous, black, excluded" (Dillon, 2004: 11) even though this is not represented in the voices of activism.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Síndrome de la desaparición femenina
  • Direction: Lucía Egaña Rojas
  • Production: 2020.
  • Team:

    Direction, camera and editing: Lucía Egaña

    Direct sound and research Buenos Aires: Julieta Obiols

    Script: Lucía Egaña and Julieta Obiols

    Color correction: Marielle Paon

    Actors: Ernesto Orellana, Jorge Sánchez, Jon James Barousse y Victor Hugo

    Acknowledgments: Aimar Arriola, Majo Calderón, Roberto Contador, Kyle Croft, Felipe Egaña, Kika Mac-Auliffe, Blake Paskal, Moshe Robes, Pablo Selín.

    * Commissioned by Visual Aids for Day With(out) Art 2020


  • Duration: 00:07:38
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Original format: HD 1920x1080
  • Formats: HD 1920x1080