STDs in Films and Movies

Sexually transmitted diseases are definitely not an easy topic to present on the big screen, which is why people call such movies the ‘STD horror movies’. In the past, such movies found plenty of critics since they bummed out people, but they have also garnered some major awards and increased the STD awareness among people better than any other medium.

There are also those amazing movies who managed to teach people about STDs by providing them with a sense of grit, humor and wit. The entertainment value of these made them viewed by millions of people worldwide, making sure that people become more sexually aware.

The Top 8 STD Movies and Films to Watch

It is time that everyone watches these movies and sees how STD awareness progressed throughout the years.

1.   Parting Glances

The writer and director of ‘Parting Glances’ never made another movie – he died to an AIDS-related STD back in 1990 after providing us with this masterpiece in 1986. Ever since, this movie kept its high spot in the STD movies, keeping his legacy for decades.

The movie is brilliantly written and acted by a couple who prepares for a separation as Michael, one of them moves to Africa to work. In the last 24 hours before his departure, Michael and Robert together with their lovers collide to a hilarious effect.

This movie sends a strong message about HIV and is a rarity of portrayals of infected people in the movie industry.

2.   Love! Valour! Compassion!

Sent to people’s big screens back in 1997, this movie is a Tony-winning play. The story speaks of gay New Yorkers who spend three weekends at a country house in the summer. In the movie, they joke and flirt, as well as express their jealousy and anger, compassion and love.

Given the time in which they collide, these poor people cannot escape AIDS. Terrence McNally’s comedy-drama is captivating and well acted, leaving everyone in awe after seeing what HIV did to infected patients in the past.

3.   Dallas Buyers Club

The third in our list is a famous and yet, often criticized movie. The reason for this lies in the fact that this is one of the very few movies that feature a straight man suffering from AIDS. At this point, people are used to the movie concept of ‘gay people get AIDs and die of it’, which is why the movie became so controversial to start with.

Released in 2013, this movie is based on Ron Woodroof’s story, a drugging and hard-drinking rodeo cowboy who must battle HIV. To cope with the disease, he starts befriending gay and transgender people, introducing us to Jared Leo, the transgender woman and heart and soul of this movie.

Matthew McConaughey plays the main role and he immersed in it completely, losing 60 pounds to film it.

4.   Longtime Companion

Released in 1990, Longtime Companion is one of the very first AIDS themed movies. The movie is set in New York City and starts by introducing the emergence of AIDS back in 1981, featuring a group of gay friends.

Back then, the movie was often criticized for its focus on AIDS and affluent white men and showcasing African American and Latino characters as people practicing bad behavior. Still, it remains one of the top movies that increased the AIDS awareness among people who were not at all educated on sexually transmitted diseases.

5.   Philadelphia

Being released before the introduction of the revolutionary AIDS drugs we use to treat the disease today, Philadelphia did two things – implement scare and paranoia among people and help them understand the virus.

Performed by Tom Hanks and his lawyer Denzel Washington, this movie spoke of the story of a man fighting for his life with the help of a lawyer that represents him in a wrongful-termination suit.

Philadelphia is a must-watch movie. It is the groundbreaking story in the world of HIV and AIDS.

6.   Precious

Based on a novel by Sapphire called ‘Push’, this movie raises some serious issues connected to STDs. The movie won an award back in 2009 and provided people with an insight into the life of HIV-infected people.

Precious is HIV-positive woman, a daughter of an abusive father who died from AIDS. But, she does not give up. At a time where this disease cannot be treated, she gives birth to two children, the second of which is HIV-negative.

The movie represents a strange force in a 16-year-old, sick girl who studies in junior high. It demonstrates how even people in horrible personal and health situations can fight off abuse and desperation and achieve their dreams.

In addition to this, the movie educates people on the discovery that HIV-positive people can give birth to non-infected babies.

7.   Gia

We all love Angelina Jolie, but if you watch this movie, you will love her even more. Playing a queer supermodel who dies at age 26 of AIDS, Jolie is a heroin addict and a scary, yet realistic representation of what the disease and wrong lifestyle can do to a person.

Carangi, her role, has such vibrant presence, that every viewer will get highly disappointed when she succumbs to the disease. For this movie, Jolie won the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards.

8.   The Living End

Our final movie in the ‘HIV/AIDS horror movie’ list is ‘The Living End’. This is one of the earliest movies in the New Queer Cinema genre and a raw drama released back in 1992.

The movie speaks of two HIV-positive gay men, one of them cynical and the other reckless. These men meet on a road trip, which ends every road trip for both of them. While en route, a homophobic cop is being killed and this is the point where both men adopt their motto ‘Fuck everything’.

This movie is definitely not a movie for everyone, but it was perfect for the generation in which it was released. At this point, we consider this movie a turning point in the HIV and AIDS awareness of that time. The movie is romantic, confusing, cynical and confrontational.

What are you waiting for? Pick one movie from our list and start watching how HIV awareness grew throughout history.


Fast, Private & Affordable STD Testing

Was this article helpful?