Zach Hudson’s HIV diagnosis story on EastEnders sparked a surge in viewers wanting to know more about the virus.
In Monday night’s (January 16th) episode, the character played by James Farrar received news that he was HIV positive.
After an old friend Brett shows up at Albert Square to inform him that he has the virus, he decides to get tested.
A story that will become increasingly prominent in the coming months led to HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust. 75% more users visiting the website After the episode aired, viewers wanted to know more about the virus.
The most popular pages were How HIV is Transmitted, Stages of HIV Infection, HIV Symptoms and Post-Exposure Prevention, the charity told GAY TIMES.
The Terrence Higgins Trust team worked closely with EastEnders to create a storyline that accurately portrays what it will be like to live with HIV in 2023.
NEW: EastEnders’ HIV diagnosis scene sparked a surge in viewers wanting to know more about HIV. Website traffic increased by 75% for him after the episode aired.
Zach’s story is starting conversations in living rooms across the UK, and these will continue as his story unfolds. pic.twitter.com/Zkyg9hnRLk
—Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) January 17, 2023
Ian Green, the charity’s chief executive officer, said: Expand.
“At the height of the HIV epidemic in the 1990s, we worked with EastEnders on the Mark Fowler storyline to ensure that HIV was accurately portrayed on screen.
“Mark’s story was groundbreaking.
“We are delighted to be working with the BBC again on Zack’s storyline to show how far medicine has come since the days of Mark Fowler.
Green explained that the stigma surrounding the virus “acts as a barrier to many people from getting tested and knowing their status.”
“Someone like Zach can lead a normal, full life thanks to incredible progress with HIV. But it starts with testing. Now is the perfect time to get tested and find out your status.”
The Terrence Higgins Trust operates a free, confidential helpline called THT direct. It provides advice, support and information about HIV, including where to get an HIV test and how HIV is transmitted. THT Direct can be reached on 0808 802 1221 Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm.