Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Tomorrow is the 15th World AIDS Day. I don’t know if you have an answer to the question above, but I bet you will if you watch this incredible HBO documentary, The Lazarus Effect. Produced by Spike Jonze for the (RED) Campaign co-founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver (brother of Maria), “The Lazarus Effect” introduces us to four HIV-positive people–two women, one man, and one child– who are very much on the verge of death. Then they’re given antiretroviral medications (ARVs), which suppresses the HIV virus, and within months they are physically and emotionally transformed. Seeing the before and after footage of the people featured, and hearing in their own words what it’s like to have a second chance at life, is moving beyond description.
There is one awful exception to this. In the movie, we meet 11-year-old Bwalya, whose parents both died of AIDS. She is gravely ill when she first appears on screen and weighs all of 24 lbs. But the ARVs worked their magic, and we’re privileged enough to see the results. This past August, however, long after the film was complete, Bwalya died of heart failure. Knowing this, it’s very difficult to view the scenes with her and her aunt, who is overjoyed by her niece’s good health.
But watching this movie is 30 minutes well spent. And when you finish, and you’re wondering how you can help eradicate AIDS, head over to joinred.com, which has countless solutions, from cool products to buy, concerts to attend, to ways to spread the word about the power of ARVs.
Please check back tomorrow, when Malaak Compton-Rock has much more to say about World AIDS Day.