What the stunning Netflix present Merlí will get proper about HIV and younger males

With World AIDS Day approaching December 1, the excellent news is the miracle of anti-viral remedies and PrEP means fewer persons are contracting HIV or dying from the illness.

Nevertheless, an estimated 1.5 million individuals worldwide will turn out to be contaminated with the virus this yr, many unaware of their situation. Pockets of homosexual males throughout the globe stay weak.

The hit drama Merlí, on Netflix, tackled that situation in its remaining season, becoming a member of exhibits like It’s a Sin, Angels in America, and The Actual World with Pedro Zamora in shaping our understanding of HIV.

The Spanish-language hit from creator Hector Lozano tells the story of Pol Rubio (Carlos Cuevas), on the middle of a bunch of Philosophia college students and their lecturers at a highschool and college in Barcelona. Over 5 seasons, they arrive to phrases with rising up and rising older, via the lens of the Nice Philosophers.

For heartthrob Pol, within the remaining season, which means confronting the very actual risks HIV nonetheless poses to sexually energetic males who’ve intercourse with males.

Listed below are three issues Merlí bought proper about an HIV-positive prognosis, 40 years after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic…

1. The shock and the horror

Pol is horny and sensible, somebody all the women need to be with, and the fellows need to be identical to — and in Merlí‘s universe, need to be with, as nicely. He’s a participant, and over the course of the present strikes from hook-ups with women and a semi-relationship with the son of his philosophy professor to a extra queer sexual identification, however on the DL. Simply as he’s coming to phrases along with his attraction to males, he learns from a one-night stand that he was uncovered to HIV, a yr and a half after the very fact. He’s sure he’s unaffected: He’s principally straight and a prime with different males, and out of attain of a “homosexual plague.”

Spoiler Alert: A pharmacia check reveals he’s optimistic, a nightmare situation for the machismo golden boy, who’s all however sure the result’s a demise sentence.

2. Data is energy

Via the noise of his check outcome, Pol doesn’t hear the pharmacist’s assurances that HIV is manageable with therapy, and is consumed with guilt and disgrace. He hides the prognosis from household and buddies, and the younger man on the college who’ll assist reconcile his masculinity along with his sexual orientation. On the identical time, he will get a job at a neighborhood homosexual cabaret, the place the proprietor, who’s christened the chiseled Pol “Apollo,” senses the philosophy pupil’s dread, and shares his personal expertise coming via the wars of life as an HIV-positive homosexual man. All the pieces shall be okay, he’s thrived with HIV for years. With that cross-generation connection, “Apollo” involves empathize with the boys who got here earlier than him, and begins to see his future extra clearly. It’s vibrant and full of affection.

3. PrEP will not be the one precaution

On account of the very success of HIV therapy choices and prophylaxis, some sexually energetic individuals have turn out to be complacent concerning the illness, and its life-changing results. Pockets of males who’ve intercourse with males don’t have entry to info for PrEP. Pol grew to become HIV optimistic as a result of he imagined he was resistant to a virus that didn’t have an effect on individuals like him. It’s revealed he didn’t use a condom in that encounter with a horny fellow pupil, and he wasn’t conscious of his associate’s standing or historical past. The shock of his prognosis is partially an acknowledgment a lack of understanding. He should come out to his anxious working-class father and buddies. It additionally impacts his relationship with an older good-looking man he’s falling in love with: How can anybody belief him after he put himself at risk?

However over time and with assist, Pol involves forgive himself, and acknowledge his new actuality, with a brand new love who accepts him for who he’s.

Accepting duty for his actions and his future is essential to Pol coming to phrases with residing with HIV. The theme to this yr’s World AIDS Day, “Placing Ourselves to the Take a look at: Attaining Fairness to Finish HIV,” is a reminder all of us have a duty to assist eradicate the disparities and inequities that create boundaries to HIV testing, prevention, and entry to HIV care, and to make HIV a factor to be memorialized.

Leave a Comment