At the no-frills, writer’s-strike-shortened Golden Globes awards telecast on January 13, Queen Latifah won Best Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in HBO’s Life Support, based on the life story of Andrea Williams, an HIV-positive AIDS activist. As reported last March prior to Life Support’s premiere, the film chronicles a Brooklyn woman’s journey from drug addiction to AIDS empowerment. For six years, Williams was a community leader at Life Force, a Brooklyn AIDS service organization that came dangerously close to shutting its doors as the film premiered.

Williams applauds Latifah’s performance and hopes that her victory will introduce the film to a whole new audience. “I’m really happy that she got it; it’s been a long time coming,” Williams told POZ of Latifah’s victory. “Now some of the people who haven’t seen Life Support will sit down and watch it. It’s a great movie, and Queen Latifah did a great job.”

Life Support is one of the few award-winning films to seriously tackle AIDS in America since Philadelphia in 1993, which earned Tom Hanks an Oscar in for his portrayal of an HIV-positive attorney. Williams, who was diagnosed with HIV that same year, sees films like Life Support—while uncommon—as essential tools for destigmatizing a virus that is continually ignored by typically cause-conscious Hollywood filmmakers.

“People need to realize that plenty of positive men and women are living normal lives,” Williams says. “We’re just people, and HIV is no longer a death sentence.”