How To Survive A Plague (2012) MIFF Film Review


I was too young to really know the AIDS epidemic of the eighties and early nineties. I knew about HIV and AIDS, and lived through the grim reaper advertising. Our school sex education focused heavily on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of this disease. But I was not aware of what was happening in the political and scientific world. Especially not in the US.

Now, with the medication that exists, in the developed world it is entirely possible to contract HIV and never develop AIDS or the multitude of illnesses that go hand-in-hand with AIDS and lead to death. This is, at least in part, thanks to the work of the people featuring in How to Survive a Plague. Many of the people working with Act Up and the later splinter group, TAG, were HIV positive people and their supporters, many were gay. It was through their direct action, in the form of protests and lobbying that research for HIV and AIDS medication was brought to the fore in the US.

I always find it interesting to watch people who are passionate about a cause fighting for that cause, especially in a case like this where the activists are literally fighting for their lives. It is sad, tragically sad, but totally and utterly inspiring.

How to Survive a Plague was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary.

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