The UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity saw a 75% increase in website traffic in the wake of EastEnders’ latest cliffhanger when Zack Hudson was diagnosed with HIV.
The Terrence Higgins Trust has worked with BBC One’s Thorpe to ensure the storyline is as accurate as possible.
Zach, played by James Farrar, decided to undergo an HIV test during the Monday (January 16) offer of the hit soap opera.
The final moments of the episode, accompanied by the show’s signature Doof Doof soundtrack, saw Chef tell him he was HIV positive.
The Terrence Higgins Trust has confirmed a significant increase in visitors to its website following Zack’s diagnosis.
Most viewed were HIV transmission routes, stages of HIV infection, HIV symptoms, and post-exposure prophylaxis.
“The surge in traffic on our charity’s website shows that Zack’s diagnosis is already starting conversations in living rooms across the UK, helping to bring these much-needed insights to the realities of HIV today. The ongoing debate will continue as his story unfolds.” Terrence Higgins Trust.
“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. It helped change a generation’s attitudes towards HIV at a time when hysteria was rampant.
“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.
“Stigma prevents people from talking openly about what the virus means and acts as a barrier to many people from getting tested and knowing their condition.
“Today, if you are HIV-positive, effective treatment means you cannot pass the virus on to your partner and you can expect to live as long as someone who is HIV-negative.
“Someone like Zach can live a normal and fulfilling life thanks to incredible progress with HIV, but it starts with testing. With National HIV Testing Week just around the corner. , there is no better time to get tested and find out your condition.’
Here you can find answers to common questions, myths and misinformation about HIV and Zac’s story.
EastEnders continues on BBC One on Wednesday 18th January at 7:30pm.
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