In looking at HIV/AIDS video activism in the past by small collectives, it is also important to continue to critically analyze the mainstream media’s portrayal of the same events. One of the most interesting and detrimental pieces of mainstream media covering this crisis is a rather current documentary called How to Survive a Plague. I find this documentary to be extremely harmful to the HIV/AIDS narrative because it is interpreted by the mainstream to be a very progressive and accurate representation of the AIDS crisis, but it is only progressive enough to not make the white masses uncomfortable. One of the problems with this film is the erasure of the narratives of those who are most impacted by AIDS: queer and trans people of color. The whole film centered around white men leading marches and movements to convince the government to create drugs that fight against AIDS/HIV. Another problem with this documentary is the goal that is being fought for: a drug to be produced. The documentary makes these actions seem like a win when a very small amount of drugs at a very high price with very severe side-effects are begun to be produced. Those who are most effected, once again queer and trans people of color, are those that are also the least likely to have access to these drugs. But guess who this is a win for? The white men who have saved everyone the entire film.
I have included a trailer for the movie here: