AIDS in Film: Every Picture Tells a Story

Written by | HIV, Wellness

For our entertainment issue, we took a look back through our MetroHIV film coverage on the lookout for great films we haven’t previously discussed —and where you can seek them out today.

Photo courtesy HBO Home Video

Photo courtesy HBO Home Video

Living with AIDS (1987)


A riveting short documentary about the final days of Todd Coleman, 22, and those who cared for him: a true and heartbreaking look at what living with AIDS looked like in the 1980s. Available ON: Vimeo

Longtime Companion (1989)


A group of friends in the early 1980s deal with the chaos as a “new illness” attacks gay men in their youth, and nobody is sure who will find a purple lesion or develop pneumonia next. Its ending beach scene is haunting. Available ON: Netflix DVD

The Living End (1992)


Critic Jon and hustler Luke, both living with HIV, go on a gritty, sexy road trip for one last adventure. Available ON: Netflix DVD, Amazon Video, iTunes

It’s My Party (1996)


Nick is a gay man who has tested positive for HIV, developed a devastating opportunistic infection, and has only a few days left of consciousness left. He (and a star-studded cast) have one last party to celebrate his life. Available ON: DVD

Gia (1998)


A biopic about the life of supermodel Gia Carangi, who rose to fame in the late 1970s before spiraling downward. Perfectly played by a young Angelina Jolie, Gia is a gripping tale of fame, drugs, and the desire to be loved. Available ON: Amazon Prime Streaming, iTunes, HBOGO

Precious (2009)


Clareece “Precious” Jones is a teenager already pregnant with her second child, who escapes reality through a richly-imagined inner life. Dealing with physical and emotional abuse in a raw and realistic way, the film won Mo’Nique an Oscar and made Gabourey Sidibe an instant sensation. Available ON: Netflix DVD, Amazon Video, iTunes

We Were Here (2011)


A documentary that chronicles the early days of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, showcasing the rise of activism and the bond of community. Available ON: Netflix Streaming, Amazon Video, iTunes

The Test (2013)


In 1985 — at the height of the AIDS epidemic when no effective treatments were available, innocent young dancer Frankie ponders whether or not to take a test that could well reveal more than he’s ready to know. Available ON: DVD, Amazon Video

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Last modified: June 22, 2017

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