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7 TV Shows and Films to educate yourself on Aids

Every time modern media did it right

Show about aids still from POSE

Tuesday 1st December marks World Aids Day, which takes place every year. It is an opportunity to not only open up a conversation about HIV and Aids, but also to commemorate those that have died from an Aids-related illness.

By honouring this day annually, it is a reminder that although the virus may not be as widely discussed as it was 20 years ago, it is still a dangerous and life-threatening illness that affects approximately 38 million people world wide.

It’s not often you see HIV-positive characters on your screen, and it’s even less often that you see this topic being discussed respectfully and honestly. We’ve rounded up 6 amazing TV shows and films that managed to get it right. Some of these are classics and others are brand new. Take a look at the best films and TV shows to educate yourself on Aids.

  1. Philadelphia
  2. Pose
  3. Dallas Buyers Club
  4. Pride
  5. Rent
  6. How to Get Away with Murder
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody

1. Philadelphia

Released in 1993, this was one of the first ever positive portrayals of a man with HIV. It follows Tom Hanks as he deals with not only the illness, but also the homophobia of the time. It was a real turning point for promoting understanding of the illness.

2. Pose

Written by Ryan Murphy of Glee and American Horror Story, Pose follows members of the New York Drag Ball scene. It is set in New York in the late 80s and explores the devastating impact that HIV had on the whole community. The show follows beautiful friendships and a group that refuses to be controlled by the virus.

3. Dallas Buyers Club

Starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club is based on the true story of of Ron Woodroof, a real-life Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985. At the time of his diagnosis, AIDs was completely untreatable and people carrying it were stigmatised by society. He started to smuggle illegal pharmaceuticals into Texas to offer treatment to those affected by the virus.

4. Pride

The 2014 feel-good film follows the LGBTQ community in rural Wales as they form an unlikely alliance with the mining community under Thatcher’s government. Based on a true story, this historical comedy-drama follows Mark Ashton, the founder of Lesbian and Gays Support Miners, who was fighting a battle with HIV/Aids.

5. Rent

Based on the Broadway production, Rent is a musical set in the early 1990s. It follows a group of New Yorkers, trying to establish their careers, relationships and livelihoods, whilst the Aids pandemic is tearing through their community with devastating results.

6. How to Get Away with Murder

Although How To Get Away with Murder isn’t a TV series based on Aids, it follows the ongoing storyline of Oliver and his diagnosis. Although he suffers with initial fear and grief, the show portrays a realistic representation of a man living with HIV. His diagnosis does not become his defining characteristic, he continues to live his live and enjoy sex.

7. Bohemian Rhapsody

Following Freddie Mercury throughout his life and his career, Bohemian Rhapsody was praised for its accurate representation of the HIV pandemic throughout the 80s.