Following on from his widely acclaimed series The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive, Stephen Fry tackles the world of HIV and AIDS in this two-part documentary.
In the early 1980s, little was known about AIDS or how to treat it but, in the UK, people were warned of its dangers via the “Don’t Die of Ignorance” campaigns. Twenty years later, however, we are told that we’re “losing the fight against AIDS.”
Infections are rising, particularly among three groups: the young; black African communities; and heterosexuals.
The number of new infections among straight people now outweigh those in the gay world.
Illustrating the changing face of the virus, Stephen meets a range of people one wouldn’t expect to be affected, including a positive grandmother, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who was born with the virus and HIV-positive couples who set out to have HIV-free children.
The first programme looks at who is at risk and why.
Stephen returns to an AIDS ward where he frequently visited sick friends.
He meets his first love from Cambridge who, having separated from Fry, later found out he and his new partner were positive.
In Doncaster, once crowned “HIV capital of the North”, Fry challenges young people about their attitudes to promiscuity and unsafe sex and questions whether a whole new generation has missed the safe-sex message entirely.
On Canal Street, Manchester’s gay heartland, he meets Gordon, who can count on one hand the number of times he has worn a condom and who agrees to take an HIV test on camera.
Reflecting on the small global community in which we now live, Stephen meets a young woman from the UK whose Ghanaian partner had looked well until he died suddenly of an AIDS-related illness.
Fry is a patron of the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Stephen Fry: HIV and Me is on BBC2, on Tuesday 2nd October 2007