“Then I’m crazy. The whole world is,… that this is real, it isn’t just an impossible, terrible dream, so maybe yes I’m flipping out.” (Kushner, 175)
Whenever we address HIV/AIDS, back in the day, it emerged as a really powerful physical and mental sense – a notion that those who were affected must be engaged in the work of fighting this disease, physically and mentally. Nowadays, it is something we take for granted, everything that is related to AIDS is easier to approach, because, with medical and social advances, the conversation around HIV/AIDS became much more open-minded, to a point where the disease itself is somewhat neglected due to its irrelevancy.
Nowadays, we kind of take it for granted that AIDS could be something that could be talked about in a polite and more effortless manner, without thinking too much of it as an immediate threat due to medical advancement. An HIV/AIDS patient back then would probably die a few years after their diagnosis. If we look at this conversation from this scene, AIDS was so devastating to the point that it would break down even the strongest of men. The discussion regarding the severity of AIDS has changed nowadays because even if you have AIDS, living for another 30-40 years is still possible when you have a lot of money for treatment.
We also take it for granted how openly you could have a conversation about AIDS nowadays without offending anybody. However, we have come to forget that it was an extremely sensitive topic because you couldn’t talk about HIV without talking about gay men, junkies, or whoever the conformed society deemed to be the potential AIDS-carrying agent.
Finally, the emotional struggle of being an HIV patient is somewhat forgotten nowadays. Back in the 90s, it was hard to hide HIV after a certain point. It was likely easy to see someone emotionally drift away and say, they probably have AIDS. That’s not the case today because it’s invisible due to how manageable it has become. This is by no means a bad thing, and it’s great to see the decline in deaths caused by AIDS but coming along with that is the concern about AIDS and its existence also sharply declined.
Kushner, T. (2013) Angels in America: A gay fantasia on national themes. Theatre Communications Group.