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90 Days
August 27, 2010 8:12 PM   Subscribe

She agreed to be filmed for 90 days. A woman with AIDS is filmed briefly, every day, for 90 days, and the changes she undergoes are dramatic. The very end may make you weep, but perhaps not for the reasons you expect... [Link is a single video hosted on Vimeo.]
posted by Slap*Happy (51 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite

 
Moving. I'm sure this courageous woman's life had many strong meanings, in addition to the meaning that she gave through her death. She's one of the real heros on this earth, and we're better off because of her last gift.
posted by Vibrissae at 8:19 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


[SPOILER!]

Watch it again, especially the end, and note the day... there's a twist M. Night himself couldn't pull off half so well.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:23 PM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


Death? Last gift? I think the whole point is she got better, not worse.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:23 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure you actually followed what was happening in the video there, Vibrissae... Watch it again...
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:23 PM on August 27, 2010


The Point, vibrissae, I think you missed it.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:24 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That was really beautiful and heartbreaking (and yes, I got it). Thank you.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:26 PM on August 27, 2010


Selinah today.
posted by Gator at 8:27 PM on August 27, 2010 [11 favorites]


Yeah, it was definitely backwards. Still, it's a grim reminder of those who don't have access to drugs that helped her recover. It's a beautiful song, too.
posted by spiderskull at 8:30 PM on August 27, 2010


Wow.
posted by Flashman at 8:31 PM on August 27, 2010


More info on the charity & the film
posted by Flashman at 8:36 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Gator, that report about Selinah's recovery and friendships may well be even more affecting than the link in the OP (taking nothing away from the link in the post).

And let's not get on Vibrissae. The ad was intentionally structured to make it easy to miss how the story unfolded.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:38 PM on August 27, 2010


Oh, how sad and lovely!

I think the opposite of . might by ♥? I hope Selinah gets an opportunity to do all the cool stuff she's ever wanted to do.

Even more heartbroken now about all the people suffering with AIDS who don't have access to drugs.
posted by bewilderbeast at 8:38 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is tremendous. In my experience, people who appear as she did on Day 1 don't ever look like Day 90 again. Her transformation is incredible, I hope Topsy receives many donations as a result of this film so they can continue their work.
posted by annathea at 8:44 PM on August 27, 2010


That was wonderful.
posted by Ouisch at 8:52 PM on August 27, 2010


"During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama vowed to add $1 billion annually to the U.S. fund that George W. Bush and Congress created to fight AIDS in Africa and other developing nations.

Instead, as president, Obama proposed only a $366 million increase for the coming fiscal year – which comes on top of another broken promise from last year. In 2009, he proposed spending only $165 million for PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief."

Contact the President and tell him not to reduce funding to fight AIDS in Africa.
posted by Azazel Fel at 9:10 PM on August 27, 2010



posted by schmod at 9:38 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is really fantastic. Awesome story, and amazing how (relatively) inexpensive anti-retrovirals can so dramatically change someone's life!
posted by chimaera at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2010


Instead, as president, Obama proposed only a $366 million increase for the coming fiscal year – which comes on top of another broken promise from last year. In 2009, he proposed spending only $165 million for PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief."

The cuts in funding for HIV/AIDS efforts are really appalling. This article about the impact of the cuts in Uganda gives a sense of how much progress is being lost by the shift in priorities by the Obama administration (along with foundations and international organizations). Bush was a disgusting turdball, but the one shining success of his administration was his insistence on funding HIV/AIDS programs.

So while I wish this organization all the best, and hope that the advertisement leads to a successful fundraising campaign, it's no substitute for the full weight of governmental programs.
posted by Forktine at 10:35 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


To cut Obama the tiniest slack, he has repealed the travel ban on PLWHA, the federal ban on funding for needle exchanges and the requirement that anti-HIV funds be directed at abstinence or drug use cessation programmes.
posted by docgonzo at 10:47 PM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


There are lots of other ways Topsy takes donation and support in addition to the SMS way the video mentions.
posted by shadytrees at 10:53 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well that had me burst in tears. Powerful little film that. Really glad to watch Gator's link. A joy to see her healthier and smiling.

Also prompted me to donate to TOPSY and their Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care Clinic Programme. Here is the DONATE button. I'm sure even a single dollar would be appreciated.
posted by nickyskye at 10:58 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, when I figured it out, my eyes welled up, and it wasn't because I got something in my eye. I'll be sure to donate come payday.
posted by Ruki at 11:02 PM on August 27, 2010


Fuck yeah, SCIENCE! Sometimes we forget that while movie stars, preachers and politicians do their best drag us back to the dark ages, smart people are working hard to make life better (and longer) for everyone.
posted by klanawa at 11:02 PM on August 27, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd say that movie was a bit misleading.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:06 AM on August 28, 2010


That was cool. To Hell with Death.
posted by bwg at 12:29 AM on August 28, 2010


That was beautiful. Thank you.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:20 AM on August 28, 2010


That was definitely not a placebo effect.
posted by benzenedream at 2:32 AM on August 28, 2010


Goddamn, that makes me proud to be a human.
posted by antiquark at 3:16 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pow. Okay, that got me.

Let's not have spoilers, eh?
posted by Decani at 4:17 AM on August 28, 2010


I wept like a baby! Truly wonderful.
posted by GamesRmeLife at 5:12 AM on August 28, 2010


Bravo!
posted by kthanksbai at 5:18 AM on August 28, 2010


It's a great film, classic twist at the end and very moving. I was betting it would win in Cannes before it did, and on the award night when they announced the gold it got, the audience in the huge auditorium cheered loudly. Well deserved.
posted by dabitch at 5:25 AM on August 28, 2010


Kinda surprised that some people (not just here) missed the twist. The point of the ad is to sell/inform about the drugs that help people with HIV. So of course she gets better. But it would be boring showing it the right way around, and it wouldn't change anyones perception that HIV=slow death. And changing perceptions is what advertising is all about.
posted by dabitch at 5:27 AM on August 28, 2010


Wow. That's about all I got here.
posted by jquinby at 6:37 AM on August 28, 2010


Drugs that stop people dying are a Good Thing.

However, and I know nothing about the US President's overseas AIDS policy and am not a public health expert, my understanding is that spending money on AIDS treatments is very inefficient. Spending money on prevention is a better public health investment. Which means spending money on prostitutes and drug users and people with multiple partners. Which is politically difficult for politicians, especially right-wing ones.

So Obama may, as a smart left-wing President, decided to switch funding from treatment to prevention, helping more people. But, again, I don't know. But if you're interested in the facts of the matter you might want to dig around some more and get the reasons behind the policy. It may just be budget constraints, of course.

Epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani on HIV (TED Talk)
posted by alasdair at 7:22 AM on August 28, 2010


my understanding is that spending money on AIDS treatments is very inefficient. Spending money on prevention is a better public health investment. Which means spending money on prostitutes and drug users and people with multiple partners. Which is politically difficult for politicians, especially right-wing ones.

That would make some sense, wouldn't it? (Ignoring that treatments double as prevention, as people with super low virus loads don't pass the disease on as easily.) And to an extent, that's what's happening -- just not with HIV. Instead, money that was going to HIV care and prevention is now going towards care and prevention of diseases like malaria that were (and still are, just less so) underfunded, and that offer much cheaper cost/benefit ratios.

Even with cheap generic drugs, HIV care is super complicated and expensive; HIV prevention is incredibly complex and isn't cheap, either. (Quick: of all your college-educated, middle-class friends who have easy and legal access to condoms, how many have had 100% safe sex every single time always? Answer: not many.) Behavior is complex and contradictory; add in social marginalization, religion, and politics, and you have something that is a lot harder to address than many other diseases.

And so even though maybe it is justifiable in "numbers of babies saved per dollar spent," the shift in focus away from HIV/AIDS is really troubling. I, for one, wish that the new interest in malaria and other basic diseases was being layered on top of, instead of borrowing from, Bush-era HIV funding. But it's not. AIDS just isn't Obama's interest, and it never will be.
posted by Forktine at 7:50 AM on August 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, hey. It looks like, uh, I've got some dust in my eye. Yeah, that's it. I've gotta dust my room.

On an aside, I just realized through metafilter's comments that the video was backwards! I totally missed that (and figured it was some stylistic thing), but dear god almighty, sweet. I much prefer it this way.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 7:50 AM on August 28, 2010


It's pretty amazing to see the shape she was in, then see her in the video Gator linked to. Now I'm going to go to the bathroom and see what's wrong with my eyes.
posted by menschlich at 9:11 AM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



posted by sonika at 9:40 AM on August 28, 2010


That was really fantastic.
posted by Sibrax at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2010


Moving absolutely, but...

I wasn't actually surprised by it. It says "Day 90" right there at the beginning.
posted by valkyryn at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2010


I assumed the 'Day 90' at the beginning was a typo of '90 Days'. Great post.
posted by variella at 12:12 PM on August 28, 2010


Fuck yeah, SCIENCE! Sometimes we forget that while movie stars, preachers and politicians do their best drag us back to the dark ages, smart people are working hard to make life better (and longer) for everyone.

Considering the amount of money movie stars raise and donate for AIDS, the amount of charity services that various ministries organize to help the least fortunate, and the amount of work that a good many politicians have put into directing funding to the "smart people" so they can develop treatments and (one day, hopefully) cures, a statement like this makes you sound a little off-kilter.
posted by hermitosis at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2010


Spending money on prevention is a better public health investment.

Or even spend money on *both* treatment and prevention.
posted by craniac at 2:41 PM on August 28, 2010


Actually, spending money on treatment *is* spending money on prevention because if you reduce the viral load, people are much less likely to spread the virus even if they have unprotected sex. Spending on treatment also encourages testing (why test if it's hopeless?) and in that way, also reduces transmission because people who know they have it are more likely to be safe or abstain.

I think we should fund these programs fully. But I think in the biggest financial crisis since the depression, it's not surprising that there are going to be cuts all over the place way worse than this if people don't get a clue that we need more stimulus.
posted by Maias at 3:52 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The song is very beautiful, I would buy an album of music like that and listen all day.
posted by fake at 4:16 PM on August 28, 2010


Whew. What am impressive video.

How is spending $X more this year than last year--however large or small X may be--a funding cut? I'm perplexed.
posted by galadriel at 7:49 PM on August 28, 2010


one of the most brilliant public service announcements I have ever seen. bar none. Took my breath away.
posted by naplesyellow at 11:58 PM on August 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good points on the reduction of viral load. However, if there is no treatment for HIV, then people with HIV die, relatively quickly. So they cease to transmit the disease. With treatment, they are healthy and active and beautiful again, so they probably have sex. So they do transmit the disease, even if they have a lower viral load. Once again, for the record, drugs that stop people dying are a Good Thing.
posted by alasdair at 6:38 AM on August 29, 2010


I just set up a monthly $10 donation! I've noticed with other small monthly expenses (sending money to savings accounts, etc.) that I don't even miss the money because I expect it to be gone; it happens like clockwork. Consider doing the same!
posted by audacity at 11:57 AM on August 29, 2010


However, if there is no treatment for HIV, then people with HIV die, relatively quickly. So they cease to transmit the disease. With treatment, they are healthy and active and beautiful again, so they probably have sex. So they do transmit the disease, even if they have a lower viral load.

It (usually) takes a long time from HIV infection to developing actual AIDS to death -- months or even years. That's a lot of time in which to pass on the infection to other people, whether via sex or needles or childbirth or unsterile medical procedures. If infection to death took a week or so, you'd be right, but that's not how HIV works. If it did, then it never would have spread as far and as fast as it has.

So reducing viral loads through modern treatments is a great way to reduce transmission, but as has been said it's complicated and expensive to do.
posted by Forktine at 12:16 PM on August 29, 2010


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