Independent Lens: How to Survive a Plague

Independent Lens: How to Survive a Plague

Monday, December 30 at 10:00 p.m.

Follow two groups whose activism turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.

This acclaimed film tells the story of ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group).

Despite having no scientific training, these determined activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry to help identify promising new drugs and move them from experimental trials to patients.

In the dark days of 1987, the country was six years into the AIDS epidemic, a crisis that was still being largely ignored by government officials and health organizations — until the sudden emergence of the activist group ACT UP in Greenwich Village. Largely made up of HIV-positive participants who refused to die without a fight, they took on the challenges public officials had ignored, raising awareness of the disease through a series of dramatic protests. More remarkably, they became recognized experts in virology, biology, and pharmaceutical chemistry. Their efforts would see them seize the reins of federal policy from the FDA and NIH, force the AIDS conversation into the 1992 presidential election, and lead the way to the discovery of effective AIDS drugs that saved tens of thousands of lives. By filmmaker David France.