And the Band Played On Movie Analysis
November 20, 2012
The film "And the Band Played On" was a very intense and graphic portrayal of the beginning of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in the United States. The film begins with a stunning scene of a Center for Disease Control (CDC) team controlling an outbreak of the Ebola Virus near the river of Ebola. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie - a disheartening view of the raw truth of fatal diseases, and how the government reacts to such outbreaks.
Doctors are baffled; they have no idea what could be making these people susceptible to the Pneumocystis carinii. More investigation reveals that all individuals who die of this, and similar opportunistic diseases, have a severely compromised immune status. Many of the people have a T-cell count of zero.
The story then moves into the grass-roots method of epidemiological investigation into the issue. CDC specialists begin traveling the streets of major cities, such as New York and San Francisco in an effort to find a source of the disease. A major discovery is made - homosexual men who frequent bath houses for sex account for the majority of all individuals infected with this new, mysterious illness. It is unknown why homosexuals are more likely to contract the disease, until the discovery is made that it is most likely sexually transmitted.
Many physicians begin labeling the disease Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), and label homosexual men as the only carriers of the illness. This label causes uproar in the homosexual community, and in the straight community. Many straight people believe that homosexuals are being infected because they somehow deserve it - or God is punishing that population for their lifestyle.
CDC officials run into a large barrier in their investigation, homosexual men refuse to allow themselves to be submitted to testing, and the tracing of their sexual encounters. The CDC takes a very long time to trace the spread of the disease to a single person; a homosexual flight attendant who was extremely promiscuous with other men. This was a large accomplishment at the time, but was only a small success in the process as a whole.
The CDC was then challenged to find a test to detect the HIV virus. In the midst of all of the panic among the medical community and the population of the United States, many HIV infected individuals were ostracized from the rest of the community. Many received inadequate, or no care at all. One example is an HIV positive man who was in a car wreck, and received no medical care because he was bleeding.
During the investigation, Don and CDC staffs have strong evidence that AIDS could be transmitted not only through sex between