A new ABC TV documentary will tell the human stories behind a handful of Australians who accomplished what nobody thought possible by bringing together government, doctors, sex workers, drug users and gay men to stop a global plague.
Australia was on the precipice of a national disaster when Professor Ron Penny diagnosed the country’s first AIDS patient 25 years ago last month.
Rampant: How a City Stopped a Plague, directed by Victoria Pitt, features interviews with the very special people close to the newly discovered plague who took the initiative and turned that fate around with a partnership solution that was a global leader.
The stories are personal, professional and political. Some participants referred to the time as like living through a war.
“Like a senior public adviser who is shaping national policy but at the same time his partner is at St Vincent’s dying of AIDS,” Pitt said.
“It also means, like the Grim Reaper, I don’t expect people to agree in the end.”
Penny is joined by Bill Bowtell, Ita Buttrose, Alex Wodak, Neal Blewett, Fred Nile and many others in personal interviews.
Rampant screens on ABC, Monday 3 December, 8:30pm.

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