[MB: Nominated by the Oscars for Best Documentary]
"How to Survive a Plague": As ACT UP Turns 25, New Film Chronicles History of AIDS Activism in U.S.
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of ACT UP — the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — an international direct action advocacy group formed by a coalition of activists outraged over the government’s mismanagement of the AIDS crisis. We speak with ACT UP founding member Peter Staley, one of the longest AIDS survivors in the country; and David France, director of the new documentary "How to Survive a Plague," which tells a remarkable history of AIDS activism and how it changed the country. "I’m alive because of that activism," Staley says of the triple drug therapy he was able to take. "This was a major victory this movie tells about getting these therapies. But that was only the beginning of the battle. Now we have these treatments that can keep people alive, and there are still two to three million dying every year. There are more dying now than when we actually got the therapies to save people. So it’s a huge failure of leadership internationally. And it shows a failure of our own healthcare system."
Peter Staley, HIV/AIDS activist featured in How to Survive a Plague. In the mid-’80s, Staley was diagnosed with AIDS. He left his job as a bond trader in New York to work as a full-time activist. He became a founding member of ACT UP in 1987 and served on the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research until 1991.
David France, director of the new AIDS activism documentary, How to Survive a Plague.
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