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Two years on, HIV charity says It’s A Sin had ‘immeasurable impact on public perceptions’

‘Never before in my lifetime has a TV show had such a profound effect on people from all walks of life’


“Never before in my lifetime has a TV show had such a profound effect on people from all walks of life,” says Ian Green, CEO of leading HIV and STI charity Terrence Higgins.

It’s A Sin premiered just over two years ago on Channel 4 and it’s safe to say the show has had an immeasurable impact on destigmatising HIV within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community.

Ian Green, CEO of Terrence Higgins, spoke to The Tab about the ongoing impact of It’s A Sin – here’s everything he had to say.

“We often think about the AIDS crisis from an American perspective, therefore this brutally honest depiction of what happened here in the UK began to hit home. Families did burn the beds of their children and relatives that died from AIDS-related illnesses while excluding the dead’s chosen family from the funeral,” Ian tells The Tab.

He continues: “Young gay men were forcibly outed as they had to tell family members they were gay and dying of AIDS at the same time. And while this was happening, the government did absolutely nothing but spread mass hysteria.”

It’s A Sin reflects on a time in the history of our community that we must never forget and sparked a much-needed national conversation about HIV. Four decades on from the first cases of HIV and we’re working towards the scientifically possible goal of ending new cases of the virus by 2030. Ian says this level of progress wouldn’t have been possible without advancements we have made in prevention and treatment. He tells The Tab: “People living with HIV who are on effective treatment can’t pass on the virus and can expect to live just as long as anyone else. People living with HIV can give birth to children free from HIV. There’s also an HIV prevention pill called PrEP that you can take to protect yourself from HIV.”

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Although the existence of It’s A Sin hasn’t wiped out the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV. Ian says: “We must all play our part in tackling this by educating ourselves and others about the reality of the virus in 2023. Stigma hurts people living with HIV, it stops people from talking openly about what the virus means and acts as a barrier that prevents many from getting tested and knowing their status. It’s vital to remember that today, if someone tests positive for HIV, they’re able to live a normal and fulfilling life thanks to the incredible advancements around HIV.”It starts with a test though, Ian says with National HIV Testing Week on the horizon there’s no better time than to get tested to know your status.

National HIV Testing Week promotes regular HIV testing, particularly from groups most affected by HIV including gay and bisexual men and Black people of African ethnicity. It starts Monday 6 February.

If you have any questions, you can contact Terrence Higgins Trust in confidence via 0808 802 1221 or tht.org.uk/thtdirect.

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