Foreign Policy Blogs

The Lazarus Effect (2010)

Forty cents a day.
That’s how much it costs to supply antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to an HIV/AIDS patient in sub-Saharan Africa.
That is the gist of this short (30 minute) documentary created by HBO and (RED).
Set in Zambia, the film documents the lives of several people whose lives have been turned around for the better because of the free ARVs they receive. There are before and after shots of those people and the transformation is tremendous.
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It is the effectiveness of the ARVs that its result is the Lazarus Effect, the way a person has a second chance at life after being given a death sentence.
Constance Mudenda lost her three children to AIDS before help was available.
And, after she and her husband were diagnosed with HIV, they had to choose at the end of the month whether to buy food, pay the rent, or pay for drugs that would keep them alive.
Mudenda (known as “Connie”) got free help from a clinic where she now counsels afflicted people with their treatment.
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A group known as the Global Fund supplies the drugs for patients. The funding is provided by (RED) and governments.
Starbucks, Apple, Gap, and American Express are just some of the companies that sell (RED) products with as much as half of the gross profits going to the Global Fund.
Many celebrities have made it their mission to get the word out about this brief but powerful documentary.
And there is a long way to go: as many as 4,000 people die each day in Africa because of HIV/AIDS.
“The Lazarus Effect” is now playing on HBO.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;