RENT and the AIDS Epidemic
The movie RENT was released in 2005 but is actually set in late 1989/early 1990, which was arguably the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the United States and also a time which having the disease was basically a death sentence. While the first outbreak was reported in 1981 very little was actually known about the disease. Upon the outbreak, HIV and AIDS was seen and known (wrongly) as a “gay mans disease” because many gay men had been diagnosed with the type of cancer that became a direct link to the then unnamed virus-HIV. As the years have progressed, more is known however many people are still incredibly uneducated and ignorant to the disease today.
After the outbreak, many organizations formed to help those affected by the disease in some way. The first organization, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) was started in New York City in 1982. The organization worked to end the AIDS epidemic by addressing issues of discrimination, bankruptcy, housing etc. The team also worked as a support system through services obtainable for HIV-positive victims as well as their loved ones. The services connect those infected with others, who were facing the same disease and provided support from family and friends. In the movie, the group of friends it follows (both those with the disease and those without) attend these support group meetings.
In 1985 the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, later to become known as “The International AIDS Conference” became an annual event that to this day remains in affect. The conference opened the door for a worldwide discussion and prevention of the deadly disease. Over the next several years, after its beginning days, conferences were held all over the world and are still held today in hopes of creating awareness and prevention. With every conference, more is done and more hope is created for...
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