NBC spent two years adapting the book for television, but ultimately withdrew from the project in 1989, allowing HBO to pick up the rights. Contrary to popular belief, NBC dropped the project, not because of its controversial subject matter, but because the book's structure didn't work as a four-hour, two-night miniseries. In March 1994, six months after its debut on HBO, NBC re-ran it, edited to fit a two-hour time slot.
In one scene, Don Francis (Matthew Modine) mentions that Dr. Robert Gallo would win a Nobel Prize, if his retrovirus research turned out to be successful in finding what causes A.I.D.S. That statement almost happened in reality, but in 2008, Gallo was excluded among the winners for such work, and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (played by Patrick Bauchau and Nathalie Baye, respectively) for their work on the discovery of H.I.V.
Alan Alda starred as Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on the television series M*A*S*H (1972). Richard Masur guest starred in "The Late Captain Pierce". Whereas their characters interacted with each other there, they share no screentime here, save for the time Mauser claps for Dr. Gallo's introduction on the televised news conference.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Although the name of Richard Gere's character is never revealed throughout the movie, he is Michael Bennett, the famous Choreographer and Creator of A Chorus Line (between others musicals), who died of A.I.D.S. in 1987.