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August 13, 2007

Does ‘El Cantante’ Get it Wrong?

El Cantante, the biopic of Puerto Rican salsa singer Hector Lavoe starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez gets, the reality of HIV in the mid-80s wrong, says The Los Angeles Times.

Lavoe, who abused intravenous drugs and had multiple sexual partners, was diagnosed with HIV in 1985—years before AZT was approved for widespread use—and died of AIDS in 1993.

In the film, Lavoe’s doctor wrongly assures him following his diagnosis that he may not develop AIDS for many years if at all. However, in the mid-80s, a time before even the earliest HIV medications, doctors were hardly that optimistic. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of people living with HIV during that time progressed to AIDS in three to five years.

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