How to Survive the Plague – Netflix Documentary

How to Survive the Plague takes place in 1987 when the AIDs epidemic is reaching a critical point. Those who have been diagnosed are afraid for their lives along with those of family and friends who may also have the disease. They are being turned away from the hospitals, doctors and all treatment. They are being forced to suffer without any help.

The Gay and Lesbian Community in New York City have begun to fight back. They are plan protests and stand-ins (kiss ins) to force the world to admit this is a problem and that the work to begin a cure for AIDs needs to start. A women named Iris came to the community to be able to teach them all the things they need to get treatments in motion and how to go through the process of getting drugs for the disease. Iris was a former scientist and could help them understand the types of drugs they were putting into their bodies to fight the disease that may or may not affect the disease.


As drugs and treatments become available, companies begin to make huge profits off the drug. More frustration develops by those who are affected by the disease. This drug however is not a cure for the disease but has been tested to extend the life of those who have AIDs. By 1988, more than 800 thousand people around the world have died from AIDs. Those who had died, some were put in the black trash bags to make them stand out among the morgue. Many were also turned away from funeral homes because they had the disease. The discrimination among the community begins to reach an all-time high.

While their protests and stand-ins were peaceful in nature, many were arrested at each event. I am the first to admit that some of the things that occurred at these events were actually illegal but there was no destruction of property, merely the hanging of banners mostly. I want to stress though that those infected with the disease were not the just part of the gay community, straight individuals were also infected with the disease (as they are now). The group turned to underground drug treatments and forcing the FDA to do more research on drugs from other countries because the one major drug to treat the disease that was available was too toxic for a majority of those infected to take.


How to Survive the Plague takes you through the entire process of the FDA developing treatments, how the drug was studied and how those infected were given a chance at a longer life. This documentary also teaches you how the disease infects the body and how the drugs stopped the spread of disease and who was involved in this entire process. This documentary is an eye opener to not only how the world first looked at the AIDs virus and how those were treated who had it, but also how the fight to get more drugs and research done on the disease. It is worth a watch to learn the history of how the AIDs epidemic came about, how the research began and how the different types of drugs came about not only in the United States but around the world. I give it 9 out of 10 stars.

For more information on HIV/AIDs:


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