The two-hour documentary will use interviews, story-telling, and first-hand accounts with a diverse group of subjects to show "the frontlines of scientific advancement in the field and the reality of the experience," and what it's like to live with HIV in the US in 2021 according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Queer Eye star Van Ness revealed their status in their 2019 memoir Over The Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love and appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss it. That late night appearance won a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding variety or talk show episode.
"Living with HIV has changed my life and my outlook on the world," Van Ness said. "The HIV Social Safety Net in the United States does not serve people equally and being part of this mission to educate more people is something I'm honored to do."
The documentary will also feature Americans living with HIV/AIDS, such as Hamilton star Javier Munoz, and HIV/AIDS activists who fight for rights for their community on a daily basis. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, also lends his insights to the film. He'll talk about what it was like as a doctor when the AIDS crisis was in full swing, and his involvement in shaping the United States' response to the pandemic.
Morgan Hertzan, executive vice president and general manager of Vice TV says the documentary is necessary to address the wrongs of the past, especially the medical and legislative response to HIV/AIDS in the 1980s. "We now know that this was rooted in a lack of regard and compassion towards the communities most affected by the illness. It is tragic to think about how many lives could have been saved and where we might be today had the public been less fearful all those years ago."
Vice Versa: The Neglected Pandemic, 40 Years of HIV & AIDS will premiere on Vice on June 2.