It’s nice to see slices of your life show up on a screen, whether it’s a phone, a TV, or the big screen at a movie theater. This is especially true if you are living with HIV — there aren’t a whole lot of films about HIV and AIDS, but there are at least a dozen we recommend you check out.
These 12 films about the drama, tragedy, and triumph of living with HIV and AIDS should be streamable on TVs with high-speed internet access, plus computers, phones, or tablets. Alas, most of them aren’t free, but you can view some with a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Go. We’ve listed the rental prices where available.
BPM (Beats per Minute) (2017)
Critics adored this French film exploring love affairs, political maneuvering, and AIDS activism in Paris during the early 1990s. It hit theaters in October 2017, so it might not be out on streaming services for a while.
The Normal Heart (2014)
This HBO movie is set in the early 1980s when most people were ignoring the AIDS epidemic. It stars Mark Ruffalo as a writer fighting to get the government and gay community to face up to the threat. It’s on HBO Go and rents on Amazon Video, YouTube, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
It’s Not Over (2014)
This documentary tells the story of three millennials from the U.S., South Africa, and India who deal with the highs and lows of living with HIV. It streams on YouTube, Amazon Video, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Matthew McConaughey won the Best Actor Oscar for playing an HIV-positive straight guy who befriends gays, trans people, and others he meets through his “Buyers Club,” which sells HIV treatments that weren’t authorized in the U.S. The movie is on Cinemax and streams on YouTube, Amazon Video, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
PBS made this two-hour Frontline documentary on the effects of HIV in America’s black community. It includes an interview with L.A. Lakers Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson. Stream it live at PBS.org.
How to Survive a Plague (2012)
This documentary explores the ACT UP movement and other activist efforts in the 1980s to get more research on HIV and more acceptance for people with the disease. It’s on Netflix streaming and rents on YouTube, Amazon Video, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
We Were Here (2011)
San Francisco went from a world capital of gay liberation in the 1970s to a frightened hub of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. This documentary tells the story of five men and women who saw it happen right before their eyes. Stream live on Netflix or rent from iTunes, YouTube, and other platforms ($0.99-$2.99).
The Lazarus Effect (2010)
This short documentary shows the remarkable turnarounds Africans experience after receiving anti-retroviral drug therapies. Stream live on YouTube.
HIV and AIDS are woven into the lives of a diverse cast in New York’s East Village in this musical based on the Broadway smash hit. Rent on YouTube, Amazon Video, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
Angels in America (2003)
This six-part mini-series with Meryl Streep and Al Pacino is set in New York in 1985. The series explores the intersecting lives of people who learn they have HIV. Stream live on Amazon Prime. It’s also on HBO Go and rents on YouTube, iTunes, and other platforms ($1.99).
Angelina Jolie stars in this biographical film about Gia Carangi, a famous model whose life nosedived into drug addiction, ending with her death from complications related to AIDS at age 26, one of the disease’s first female victims. It’s on HBO Go and rents on YouTube, iTunes, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).
Hollywood’s first major film about HIV and AIDs starred Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington as two men fighting for justice and fairness. Hanks won the Oscar for “Best Actor” for his performance. Rent it on YouTube, Amazon, and other platforms ($2.99-$3.99).