Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Places & Faces

Aiding Orphans With HIV: A Moving Story Depicted in PBS’ Blood Brother

See also

PBS Independent Lens Blood Brother


As tragic as are the stories of adults with HIV, those involving children –and orphaned children at that – who are HIV-positive are even more heart-breaking, and rarely if ever told. Blood Brother, the newest entry in the Independent Lens series on PBS, tells that story, and does it by following a remarkable young man from Pittsburgh who gave up everything to help such afflicted children in India.

Rocky Braat is that man, and his good friend director Steve Hoover was so moved by Rocky’s selflessness that he followed him to India to chronicle his story. And what a story it is: a deeply moving, heart-rending yet also incredibly uplifting tale of both how a jaded, disillusioned and lost young man helped those in dire need – and at the same time was himself given a new outlook and purpose on life by the very children he came to aid.

Proceeds from Blood Brother are being used to help Rocky in his charitable efforts to help HIV-positive orphans in India.

Blood Brother is part of the Independent Lens series and will premiere on most PBS stations at 10pm Eastern Time on Monday, January 20.

Although praised by critics and honored with the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury and Audience awards both, Blood Brother is not the easiest of films to watch. The desperate situation of these impoverished HIV-positive orphans is at the very least unsettling, yet to his great credit Hoover does not allow the film to languish in a pool of despair. This is instead a story of love; of how a privileged if troubled young American came to give of himself and in doing so found he had an immense capacity to give love, and to receive it, from these children, in return.

Blood Brother is part of the Independent Lens series and will premiere on most PBS stations at 10pm Eastern Time on Monday, January 20. (Connecticut Public Television has not yet scheduled an air date for Blood Brother, although Connecticut viewers who can access New York and Boston stations will be able to view Blood Brother on Monday).

Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer, columnist, historian and game designer. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln. To view Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit his publisher at
…or his blog at
Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at
To read more pieces by Mark G. McLaughlin become a regular subscriber; just click on the “Subscribe to get instant updates” button at the top of the page. Examiner's editors pledge that subscribers