In this paper, I critique contemporary AIDS narratives of historiographic heroism that flatten the complex legacy of intersectional and transnational labor across coalitional lines. I ground my arguments about AIDS gentrification through a critique of the documentary How to Survive a Plague (2012) not simply to offer a “corrective” account of AIDS history that fills in missing gaps, but to intervene into the representational terms of AIDS historiography that has crucial biopolitical and epidemiological implications in contexts that are not limited to the Global North. More specifically, I critique the redemption of biomedical discourse in contemporary AIDS narratives, examining its implications in the context of a transnational political economy that continues to mediate HIV drug access and affordability for people living with AIDS in the Global South (specifically, the political economy of India). I conclude my paper with a global focus of early AIDS activisms-both in the sense of a broader vision of coalitional politics as well as a transnational impetus-that moved beyond a drugs-into-bodies goal, which has come to dominate the representational field of AIDS history since 2010. These queer refusals of single-issue politics are in danger of being whitewashed if positivist versions of AIDS discourse lay claim to the “truth” about the epidemic’s historiography. At stake is not simply the need to proliferate and assert different versions of activist histories as more authentic, but to mobilize these alternative archival mediations to challenge the gentrification of AIDS in the Global North.

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