Dallas Buyers Club and the myths of Aids activism · Blog · Sense about Science

The public perception of HIV/AIDS and its treatments are still very much stuck in the late 80s/early 90s. Hollywood and the media do little to correct this, as a recent extensive search for a documentary on the lives of HIV+ people today has taught me. Films like Dallas Buyers Club are important, not just because they’re rare, but because they can affect public perception and address misconceptions. The problem is, they can do this by attacking them or by reinforcing them. Now read on…

The success of Dallas Buyers Club – which won three Oscars this week – reflects the enduring power of a number of myths surrounding Aids and its treatment, and the roles of Aids activists ranged against the malign forces of Big Pharma, the medical establishment and the regulatory bureaucracy.

Combining elements from the genres of fairy tale, pantomime and the Western, Dallas Buyers Club celebrates the life of Ron Woodruff, Texas redneck electrician and rodeo rider (he’s the one wearing the white Stetson cowboy hat) who was diagnosed with Aids in 1985 and ‘given 30 days to live’. Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) has a fondness for beer, whiskey and cocaine, and a penchant for strippers and hookers. Though at the outset he shares the homophobic and misogynist prejudices of his peers, he achieves redemption through the inspirational influences of Rayon (Jared Leto), a transgender drug addict, and Eve (Jennifer Garner), an idealistic junior doctor (who still wears her hospital white coat when she visits her patients in their seedy motel rooms)…

– Read the rest of this guest blog post by SaS trustee Dr Michael Fitzpatrick at: Dallas Buyers Club and the myths of Aids activism · Blog · Sense about Science.

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