Ebola & Aids Share The Same Shame

Ebola, extremely similar to Aids, opened up the first scene in the film, And The Band Played On. Ebola is a disease that many people in my generation can understand first hand considering the outbreak the past year in the United States. The news was painted with cases and the reasoning’s behind the outbreak. Having Ebola as a starting point in the film made it easier to understand the isolation, lack of treatment, fear, and rapidness of spreading that are all key components within Aids.

The opening of And The Band Played On, started with oversized cream-colored SUVs with “World Healthcare Organization” logos entering an abandoned shelter of some sort. These researchers were looking for their doctor friend who was undergoing studies of an unknown disease, now called Ebola. The researchers were engulfed in space suit looking attire with breathing masks. This not only set the mood of the movie but it opened your eyes to the fact that this rapid disease was extremely life threatening and precautions were mandatory. Bodies were lined up and everyone within the community was dying off or dead, including the doctor.

This disease, Ebola, depicted in the film underscores the concerns of lack of treatments, rapidness of spread, fear, and the desire of individuals to isolate the problem so it can no longer continue. Further within the movie another rapidly attacking disease is taking hold of lives within the California area. This disease is extremely hard to detect, research, and find a cure for which can also be related to the lack of funds given to research organizations. The link that can be related to this newfound disease Aids, and Ebola today is ongoing. For instance, in today’s cases the most extreme measures of isolation were put into effect, no connection to the outside world. With the Aids case, individuals may not have been physically isolated but they were shunned off by society. Within the movie where the case of Ebola was new, you could see the lack of treatment and the hard truth that even the doctor couldn’t survive. The lack of treatment within the film for Aids was also present. Thousands of cases went on and victims died–individuals who used contaminated blood transfusions, babies with infected mothers, drugs users, homosexuals, etc.

They key component to fight a disease is to kill it, to find a cure. Within the film it was justified that the lack of funding was a concern. Not just the lack of money given but also the ignorance associated with many organizations, such as the blood banks. The researchers needed new supplies and technology because this rapid disease was almost too fast to detect. The cells were dying to fast, the links to others diseases such as HIV made no sense, and the competition between highly known doctors because selfish. The most concerning lack of involvement were the blood banks. The researchers pleaded that the disease was linked to the blood, but without solid hard proof to deliver to the courts nothing would be done. The blood blanks continued to use the blood they had stored and received without testing it, this not only opened up the door to spreading the disease but it continued the problem to detect and stop it.

Besides the spreading and lack of resources/treatments there is an individual behind each case that is scared for their life. Not only life, but the disconnect that society puts between them. Isolation and shame are huge triggers that lead an individual to not get tested, to not tell others, and ultimately to become an alien within their own body. In the article “Stigma, HIV, and Aids” it was explained that being diagnosed “is a powerful discrediting, and tainting social label that radically changes the way individuals view themselves and are viewed as persons” (Alonzo/Reynolds, 304). Overall, society wants to stay healthy and untainted, but its hard enough when you are that victim and it seems as everyone is pointing their finger at your for being the problem. Many of these cases spiraled from the homosexual community, which in itself is already negatively looked down upon by society. A double negative will surely lead you into denial.

When going through hard times the only possibly thing to do is to find the good in every evil. “Individuals may desire religion as a means to search for meaning in the fate they will come to experience” (Alonzo/Reynolds, 311). Judgmental people, however, can also be part of a religious community and this too will lead to more closed outlets for tarnished individuals with the disease. “The sympathy and forgiveness engendered in religious institutions is not constant and may depend on the particular clergyperson encountered. Just as he or she may have to search for nonjudgmental health care providers” (Alonzo/Reynolds, 311).

In conclusion society is not perfect, however, in a time like this one should not be scrutinized because of a disease he or she ended up with that was not significantly their fault. The blood transfusions were pure luck of not ending up with tainted blood, having sex with someone who was infected may have not known (can take years to see and to DETECT problems) innocent babies did not choose for their mothers to be contaminated, etc. Isolation is unfair, lack of treatment could have been fixed with figuring out different budgeting, and most importantly ignorance of organizations should have been cut out. When there is a possibility behind reasoning of how an extremely serious disease is spreading, you take precautions.

 Work Cited

  •  Alonzo, Angelo and Nancy Reynolds. “Stigma, HIV and AIDS.”  Social Science Medicine 41.3 (1995): 303-315. Web
  • Pillsbury, S., Sanford, M. (Producers), and Roger Spottiswoode (Director). (1993). And The Band Played On [Motion picture]. United States: Home Box Office.
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