As you may have seen around New York City or on TV commercials, there is a new HBO movie about HIV/AIDS called The Normal Heart. This movie was created by Larry Kramer and stars Mark Buffalo as writer/activist Ned Weeks. I first heard about the film through a commercial. I was then reminded about it when I went into the city to walk with Team Hyacinth at AIDS Walk New York, and again on a school trip; it seemed like there was an advertisement on every corner for The Normal Heart. The first thing that captured my attention was the title itself. In the context of HIV/AIDS it is a very powerful phrase. People with HIV/AIDS have a normal heart. It truly pains me that there is still a negative stigma that surrounds this disease. As Elton John states in a commentary to CNN marking the film’s premier, “Today, we know how to protect everyone, and we have the ability to treat every single person living with HIV. Yet AIDS continues to prey upon the most vulnerable in our society: the poor, the incarcerated, sex workers, drug users, and those living in regions where intolerance and stigma are facts of life. Today, as ever, silence equals death”. It is time for all generations, new and old, to talk and educate about this disease.
Although I don’t want to give a boring “IMDb” report about the film’s plot, I do want to express how it made me feel. After I stopped crying and had time to cool down I realized that I am proud of myself. I am proud of people who work at Hyacinth. I am proud of those living with HIV/AIDS who continue to fight. I am proud of those who fought and died for this cause. I am happy this movie came out at this time because now more than ever it is important for my generation and upcoming generations to understand. A generation free of HIV/AIDS can be achieved in our lifetime. If you haven’t already watched The Normal Heart, I encourage you to do so. Invite a family member or a friend to watch with you, and help bring awareness to others so they too can help end this virus!