It is an American documentary film directed by David France in 2012. It is heartrending piece of filmmaking. The film covers the AIDS pandemic from its beginnings. It explores the societal norms that stimulated the spread of the pandemic and the continuous loss of innocent lives. Outrageously, it exposes the social prejudice held about the disease and the sterling discrimination that people affected by the disease were subjected to. France, the director, says that he knew that all that people were doing was historical, and many people will continue to die out of it if no action is taken. It explores the various actions taken by militant activists such as ACT-UP and TAG in drawing public attention towards the pandemic.
In early years, AIDs epidemic was considered a death sentence that affected social groups such as the LGBT and those in authority outrageously felt that such organizations deserved it. By courageously standing up against any public opinion structured to the disadvantaged of any community member suffering from AIDs, ACT-UP and TAG transformed the public. It strongly campaigned against discrimination of HIV/AIDs victims and the social prejudices that were predominant in the then American society (France, 2013). Additionally, it strived to fight the negative coverage that the disease received from the media that served the interests of a few individuals in the society while ignoring the welfare of the majority. It successfully managed to stop the general public opinion that the disease was a punishment accrued from misbehavior by radically educating the members of the public on several concepts about the disease.
Through radicalism, it stopped the church from advocating that the pandemic was a chastisement from God and nothing could be done to reduce or avert its adversities. ACT-UP and TAG saved the lives forcing leaders to examine their moralities and speed up the authorization of potentially life-saving drugs (France, 2013). The scenes of scrawny AIDS-stricken patients covered in Kaposi’s sarcoma reflected an immune system that had totally collapsed and these radical groups were out to advocate for the reexamination of public health policies.
Additionally, the group used outstanding professionals such as Iris Long, a retired chemist, to fight the spread of the virus. The government and humanitarian agencies were forced to allocate more funds to medical research and drugs. It forced governments to avail the best facilities that can be used in the diagnosing and treating AIDS and its related infections such as tuberculosis. The groups used public demonstrations to advocate for any change that they thought was necessary for boosting the fight against the AIDS pandemic. It is due to the freedom of expression that ACT-UP and TAG was able to express their disgrace and engage the government in finding the best way of handling the AIDS pandemic (France, 2013). Additionally, the groups could comfortably challenge any government decisions that contradicted public interests in a court of law. Through these strategies, access and availability of medication improved immensely. The society changed its view about, AIDS and started having a positive view of those afflicted by the pandemic.
The real plagues that humanity suffers from are hate and intolerance. Initially, “living with AIDS in the U.S was like living through a war that was happening only for those people in the trenches” (France, 2013). However, the activist groups managed to change this notion. The story is cathartically rewarding towards the end when various people own up and publicly accept living with the virus. President Ronald Reagan breaks his long-term silence and negligence and publicly uses the word “AIDS” and called for action from all the concerned parties. Individuals like Larry Kramer could thereafter live happily and for longer than expected.
France, D. (2013). How to survive a plague. Orland Park, IL: MPI Home Video.