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The Economics and Politics of AIDS - Movie Review Example

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Name Instructor Class 25 March 2012 The Economics and Politics of AIDS During the early 1980s, the Gay Man’s Disease, which was soon called “GRID” or Gay Related Immunodeficiency, had killed hundreds, and after a few years, thousands of people, and not all of them were gay…
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The Economics and Politics of AIDS

Download file to see previous pages... One movie, nevertheless, tackles the truth about how AIDS has been discovered and how scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) faced political challenges. And the Band Played On, which is directed by Roger Spottiswoode and written by investigative journalist Randy Shilts, depicts the history of AIDS discover in the U.S. This film demonstrates the economics and politics of AIDS, which has pitted inhumanity against humanity, where anger can be directed toward politicians, corporations, and even doctors and scientists, who ignored an epidemic, because they pursued their personal interests first, and made the public welfare the last of their concerns. The intellectual reaction to the film is that it has covered some of the most controversial issues of the scientific industry- the battle for the discovery of AIDS- which indicates that the academe is not free from hubris, a purely subjective attitude that will shame the scientific community, through manifesting the fallibility of humanity. The film shows how Dr. Robert Gallo, discoverer of the first human Retrovirus (HTLV), has first sidestepped the Gay Man’s Disease, while the Pasteur Institute in Paris, led by Luc Montagnier, was shown as displaying keen interest on the retrovirus. Gallo’s personality is exposed as chauvinistic and opportunistic. It seems that he did not focus on the Gay Man’s Disease initially, because it did not seem a promising venture that will give him public fame. The Pasteur Institute in Paris, however, was already interested in the virus, since it was already affecting homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. In France, involved doctors did not see the issue as a “homosexual” one, and so they were not limited in their thinking about the origins, diffusion channels, and effects of the retrovirus. In the U.S., on the contrary, the virus was already labeled as homosexual, which brought about emotional and moral outbursts. The result was a widespread stigmatization of the virus that prevented Dr. Don Francis of the CDC from getting the funding he needed to study it further. He tried to ask for Gallo’s help through his Harvard professor, but the latter provided minor attention on it. In short, the virus was snubbed. Only when dead bodies have piled enough to warrant research did Gallo became interested in studying it. Gallo knew that if he connected this new virus with his HTLV, he would get the Nobel Prize. His primary motivation, as shown in the film, is public and scientific recognition. The film depicts that the scientific community is not composed of ideal scholars like Dr. Francis. It is actually often led by narcissistic, and yet well-admired, scientists like Dr. Gallo. Another intellectual reaction is the concerned assessment of who the discoverer of AIDS truly is. Gallo has been informed first about the virus through the CDC, but the French team in The Pasteur Institute in Paris was also conducting their independent research too. On this point, it seems that Dr. Luc Montagnier and Dr. Gallo can be considered as the co-discoverers of AIDS. The film shows, however, that Dr. Gallo conducted professional misconduct when he took the French team’s lymphadenopathy associated virus (LAV) and posted it has his own virus in a scientific journal. In effect, Dr. Gallo conducted plagiarism; he stole the work of others and wanted to profit from it. This is illegal and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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