The movie Dallas Buyers Club was released in 2013, so I’m quite late in having seen the film recently despite old reminders.
To begin with, I apologise for the clickbait title of this piece. Dallas Buyers Club is not an AIDS dissent film but it’s also not an HIV informational. It’s simply a story about survival against the odds, based on a real person.
As the title credits rolled, I expected to see a film that I would enjoy on a story level but wince at intellectually. So I was surprised to see that AZT was rightly demonised as a toxic medication (this was an early dissenter claim alongside the plausibility of a pathogenic ‘HIV’) throughout the film. The one praise for AZT was as text at the end, claiming that its use at a lower dosage actually saved lives, but this contradicts the in-film claim of AZT being an indiscriminate cell killer, whatever the dosage.
Even the multi-factorial nature of AIDS is alluded to when the transgender character, Rayon, dies. Rayon’s doctor points out that a single day of AZT or HIV was not so much to blame as a lifetime of drug abuse, depicted in the film (even lead character Ron Woodroof is often shown smoking drugs). It simply appeals to common sense that narcotics will damage immunity.
What keeps Woodroof and members of his buyers club alive (at least for as long as possible while the core source of immunodeficiency is ignored) is shunning AZT for alternative treatments that buttress immunity (I may have been the only person to notice ‘vitamin D3’ faintly scrawled on a whiteboard in Woodroof’s business abode… [plug]). There are also stabs at the greed of drug companies to push out a drug purely for profit.
Dallas Buyers Club will age quite (but not perfectly) well in a HIV-myth-busted-future – whenever that may be. Even 1993’s Philadelphia film has redemption in mainly being a story about workplace discrimination. But, ultimately, the best film on HIV will be one that tells the story of people like Peter Duesberg, Joan Shenton, John Lauritsen and all other core dissenters. It would be the ultimate justice and underdog story.
With concepts like chemsex being given increasing attention we can see that there’s no decline in unofficial support for HIV sceptics.