Delhi: Tracking the history of AIDS epidemic in the US, ‘How to Survive A Plague’, the documentary which was nominated for an Academy Award this year, was screened at The Grand, Vasant Kunj on April 6th 2013. Applauded worldwide for its gripping story and detailed narrative, the documentary celebrates real life heroes who changed the landscape HIV/AIDS in the US, inspiring an upheaval world over.
‘How to Survive a Plague,’ directed by David France it is the story of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the impassioned activists who stopped the disease from becoming a death sentence. Through countless protests and demonstrations, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and later the Treatment Action Group (TAG) demanded the eventual release of effective drug treatment in 1992. The documentary presents a cast of characters who continue fighting, for what`s at stake is the very real; the very imminent threat of their own deaths. Colleen Daniels, Director, HIV/TB was present at the screening.
"The documentary highlights the power of people, power of activism, and success of struggle against the AIDS," said Colleen Daniels, director TAG (Treatment Action Group), a US-based NGO advocating enhanced research into HIV and also against co-infections that effecting HIV patients like TB.
Adding to the same, she said, “With the progress being made by the Indian TB Programme, there is an opportunity to catalyse activism, engaging communities to change the practices of the private sector, a major stumbling block to achieve the goal of TB elimination in India. Achieving Zero TB Deaths will not be possible in India or around the world without the communities’ meaningful involvement.
Blessina Kumar, TB/HIV activist, who has worked extensively with the poor communities in India and Africa, was present at the screening of the documentary. Presently, she is the elected community representative and the Vice Chairperson of the Global Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board, housed at the World Health Organization, Geneva, and a member of the Global TB CAB in addition to many other memberships she holds in helping make a World free of TB a reality.
Blessina mentioned, “If we need to win the battle over TB, it needs passion, commitment and partnership. TB kills about a 1000 people in India every day, even though the disease is preventable and curable. This cannot be accepted and urgently needs the community response and activism that was so crucial for the success of fighting HIV/AIDS in India.”
The documentary follows a group of AIDS activists and their struggle for response from the US government and medical establishment in developing effective HIV/AIDS medications. The documentary was released in the US on Sept 21, 2012. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in the 85th Academy Awards that took place February 2013.