18 Phenomenal Movies About HIV and AIDS Worth Watching

As much as I’m glad to see any depiction of HIV in movies or television, I ask myself, where’s the modern story about HIV? Where is an HIV story being told that doesn’t end in a horrible death? How come no one is writing a story where someone has HIV, and it isn’t the main thing about him/her? And where, maybe, the HIV+ person is actually happy?

Our modern society wants to see a fresh image of HIV. People living with HIV can live healthy, normal lives, the negative stigma around people with HIV is incredibly powerful. You can never compare HIV today to the hopeless times of the 80’s and 90’s.

Still, negative stigmas and misinformation remain and many HIV positive people feel that while treatments and science around the virus have advanced in leaps and bounds over the last twenty years — attitudes about HIV remain stuck in the past.

HIV is no longer a death sentence – it is a chronically manageable condition.

People of all walks of life and all ages who are HIV+ are living normal full lives. Many will tell you that before they were diagnosed with HIV, they never really knew how to live.

HIV/AIDS was first identified in the United States in 1981 when previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles and New York began to come down with unusual deadly infections. The appearance of a new, transmissible, and usually fatal disease created an epidemic of fear across the country. Consumed by AIDS anxiety, many people overlooked the human face of AIDS.

The following films showcase many entry points into the meaning of this health crisis and opportunities for developing compassion and empathy for those affected by the epidemic.

Philadelphia

philadelphia

Fearing it would compromise his career, lawyer Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) hides his homosexuality and HIV status at a powerful Philadelphia law firm. But his secret is exposed when a colleague discovers the illness’s telltale lesions. Fired shortly afterwards, Beckett resolves to sue for discrimination, teaming up with Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only lawyer willing to help. In court, they face one of his ex-employer’s top litigators, Belinda Conine (Mary Steenburgen).