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Controversial HIV/AIDS Films To Be Screened at Bluestockings This Weekend

By Allegra Hobbs | October 20, 2016 5:46pm
 Bluestockings Bookstore will host
Bluestockings Bookstore will host "Rethinking AIDS" on Saturday, Oct. 22.
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IndieGoGo/Bluestockings Bookstore Fall Fix-UP Fundraiser

UPDATE: Bluestockings canceled the screening of the films. More here.

LOWER EAST SIDE — Bluestockings Bookstore on Saturday will show two controversial films, one of which has been banned from two London film festivals, that challenge the orthodox diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS patients.

The self-described "radical bookstore" focusing on such topics as feminism and queer studies will host a "Rethinking AIDS" event on Saturday evening, where visitors can view two documentaries that have drawn criticism for asserting the accepted science behind HIV/AIDS diagnoses is a sham championed by pharmaceutical companies and suggesting that those diagnosed with HIV need not take antivirals. 

"Positively False: Birth of a Heresy" challenges the commonly accepted idea that HIV causes AIDS, while "Positive Hell" showcases the stories of five individuals diagnosed as HIV positive who purportedly went on to thrive despite refusing antiviral treatment. 

"These voices have been stifled in the past," reads a description of the event on the Bluestockings website. "They have a right to be heard. Both films will be shown."

Screenings of "Positive Hell" were scrapped at both the London International Film Festival and the Portobello Film Festival earlier this year, filmmaker Joan Shenton told DNAinfo New York. So far, it has only been shown privately in the U.S. 

Because the films had been so controversial in the U.K., Shenton was surprised and pleased to learn that Bluestockings had agreed to screen the films.

"I believe it's very important to air these voices that have been suppressed over a long period of time...[HIV patients] should have the right to choose whether they follow the protocol," said Shenton. "There is so little ability for this point of view to get across."

Bluestockings did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The event begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9:30 p.m.