Activist Larry Kramer, author of The Normal Heart and key player in the fight against HIV discrimination and stigma during the height of the AIDS epidemic, sat down with The New York Times this week to talk about HBO’s film adaptation of his play and, despite its release this weekend, the unfinished work his movement is still tasked with.
As the founder of nonprofit AIDS organization Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Kramer says young people today have a responsibility to educate and protect themselves when it comes to having sex — a luxury he and millions of others were not afforded in the early days of the AIDS crisis.
On the topic of the controversial PrEP approach to having safe sex, he says “anybody who voluntarily takes an antiviral every day has got to have rocks in their heads. There’s something to me cowardly about taking Truvada instead of using a condom. You’re taking a drug that is poison to you, and it has lessened your energy to fight, to get involved, to do anything.”
On that note, Kramer also hopes Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart inspires young people to get involved in politics again. He notes how important government support was in researching and distributing some of the first antiretroviral medications:
“Considering how many of us there are, how much disposable income we have, how much brain power we have, we have achieved very little. We have no power in Washington, or anywhere else, and I say it over and over again, and it’s as if it falls on deaf ears. It doesn’t occur to people how to turn that around.”
The Normal Heart premieres on HBO this Sunday, May 25 at 9pm. Check out Variety‘s first review here.