I just got home from a free screening of the critically acclaimed documentary How to Survive a Plague (trailer above) and it was fantastic. The film deserves every accolade it has received and its Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Length Documentary. If you have any interest in HIV/AIDS policy or grassroots political activism, How to Survive a Plague is a must see.
The documentary follows the quest of the grassroots AIDS advocacy group ACT UP to bring attention to burgeoning AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s in America. Using original video footage from the era, the film documents the trials and tribulations of ACT UP from its living room formation through its climb to a national prominence as a leading voice in the fight to bring attention and resources to the AIDS epidemic. How to Survive a Plague details the scientific, social, and political landscapes that ACT UP encountered and documents the near Herculean effort to marshal the resources required to fight a plague.
The documentary should serve as a reminder to all HIV/AIDS policy activists and interested individuals to not be complacent with the current status quo. As the documentary points out, each day 5,500 people die because they don’t have proper access to the life-saving HIV medications that are now available. While treatment options exist, it is imperative that policymakers make access and affordability a top priority to ensure that no one has their life cut tragically short by HIV/AIDS.
How to Survive a Plague’s website has both a listing of showings of the documentary nationwide, as well as a link to options to download or rent the film at home (for as little as $3.99). This is absolutely a worthwhile 2 hours of your time.