Singer George Michael’s decision to withdraw his interview from Stephen Fry’s BBC programme HIV and Me has stimulated public debate on HIV testing, says the National Aids Trust.
The pop star was asked about his personal experiences relating to HIV. George commented that he does not do tests and hasn’t had one since 2004 because he fears the results.
Host Stephen Fry then disagrees with him and takes a HIV test, which is negative, there and then to make his point.
At George’s request the BBC has now removed his contribution to the documentary.
The controversy was discussed on Channel 5 programme The Wright Stuff this morning and has been reported across the world.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, told PinkNews.co.uk:
“George Michael’s decision not to allow this interview, in which he expresses his fears about being tested for HIV, to be shown has stimulated a lot of debate about HIV testing.
“The National AIDS Trust very much welcomes this debate, as with one in three people with HIV in the UK still undiagnosed there is a great deal to be done to improve HIV testing in the UK.”
“A recent report from the National AIDS Trust gives specific recommendations for improving HIV testing and preventing the high number of late HIV diagnoses in the UK.
“These include new measures to encourage people to be tested for HIV in sexual health clinics and other settings like GP surgeries, and tackling the stigma and discrimination around HIV testing, which can make it much harder for people to take the decision to be tested for HIV.”
In 1995 Anselmo Feleppa, a former boyfriend of George Michael, died of an AIDS related illness, and this has been given as the reason for his withdrawal from the programme.
The first part of Stephen Fry: HIV and Me will be broadcast on BBC2 on Tuesday 2nd October.
The two-party documentary has been made to mark the 25th anniversary of the Terrence Higgins Trust.