The Normal Heart depicts the AIDS epidemic from New York in the 1980s.  

Students are invited to take a study break before finals by watching a film about people who never took a break in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Ohio University LGBT Center will be screening the 2014 HBO film The Normal Heart on Friday at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

The screening is part of the LGBT Center’s Queer Hollywood series, which delfin bautista, the director of the LGBT Center, said has become a staple in the center’s programming, with each screening taking on “a life of its own.”

The film was directed by Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee and American Horror Story, and was written by Larry Kramer. Kramer also wrote the 1985 •Tony award-winning play of the same name, which the movie is based on. The film is largely autobiographical, as the lead character, Ned Weeks, played by Mark Ruffalo, is based off Kramer.

The Emmy award-winning film documents the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic from 1981 to 1984 in New York City. As the crisis worsens, Weeks and his friends create the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS service organization in 1982.

Camry Carey, a junior studying sociology and criminology, organized the screening and said the film was chosen in part to make people more aware of Kramer, starting with the fact that he has been HIV positive for decades but is still alive.

“We actually showed another film by Larry Kramer a few months ago … and I feel like we needed to do a little more because no one really knows about him at all,” she said.

Carey also said she wants people to learn more about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“HIV/AIDS is a part of our history that we don’t talk about,” bautista said. “And there’s a whole generation of people who are missing whose stories are being lost.”

bautista said the screening of The Normal Heart is an opportunity for students to engage the history of HIV/AIDS in the LGBT community.

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“HIV/AIDS doesn’t impact only LGBT people, but it did have a significant presence in our community, especially early on and how, specifically, gay men were being treated by society and all of the dynamics of the disease,” bautista said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, since the epidemic began, more than 311,000 “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men” with AIDS have died.

“It’s a part of our history as a country, as a people, as a community, but it has been neglected,” bautista said. “AIDS is not something of the past. It’s still very much present today. But … we don’t talk about it, we don’t think about it.”

—Mae Yen Yap contributed to this report


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