Ministry of Health employs the aesthetics of horror movies and silent film to evoke the adverse effects of pharmaceuticals on four men living with HIV in the city of Tlaxcala, Mexico
Commissioned in 2020 as part of TRANSMISSIONS, a program of six new videos considering the impact of HIV and AIDS beyond the United States.
About the artist
Jorge Bordello is interested in the wrinkles between document and fiction, the family archive and the national history, the montage of the body and public life. He has a degree in International Relations from the Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) and studied Library Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He was elected to study at the National Photo Library System and the Image Center at Mexico City, and has been a beneficiary of the Cultural Development and Co-Investment Program (FONCA 2011), Young Creators Grant (FONCA 2016), and the Municipal and Community Cultures Support Program (PACMyC 2015). His work has been a part of festivals such as ULTRAcinema, FICUNAM, The International Postporn Festival and Cinemaissí: Latinamerican Film Festival.
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Unlike the United States, Mexico’s public healthcare system provides medication for people living with HIV free-of-charge. The federal government purchases medicine in bulk from pharmaceutical companies, who are often able to negotiate exclusive agreements that limit the types of medication that the country is able to provide. The result is that people living with HIV are given a one-size-fits-all treatment, and are sometimes even prescribed obsolete and ineffective medications. There are over 40 medications currently approved for HIV treatment internationally, meant to be prescribed according to factors such as viral load and other health conditions. Taking the wrong medication can cause serious side-effects or lead to negative health outcomes.
In 2019, Mexico changed the way that it purchases pharmaceuticals and began defunding community-based healthcare centers under the guise of fighting corruption. The switch caused serious delays in distributing medicine, leaving hundreds of people without their daily HIV treatment. Drug shortages have continued to be an issue as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Read an open letter by scientists, doctors, and activists in Mexico calling for a paradigm shift in HIV/AIDS care in Mexico.
Learn more about the 40+ medications currently approved for HIV treatment at POZ.com.
︎ Watch a conversation with the artists of TRANSMISSIONS