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Wednesday 24th July 2019

Stephen Fry on HIV

17th October 2007

HIV and AIDS caused panic in the 1980s but fails to generate the same concern today. Stephen Fry investigates what has caused our "complacency" in a BBC2 documentary aired on 9 October


The advent of AIDS in the early 1980s was "like a whirlwind," remembers Fry. It caused people to panic, as a diagnosis was equated as being nothing less than a "death sentence".

Having lost friends to the disease during the period, Fry is keen to find out why attitudes to HIV and AIDS have changed so dramatically. He seeks to explore the reasons why people now think HIV is a manageable condition, akin to diabetes, and if they truly believe that the spectre of AIDS has vanished.

Fry looks into the popular belief that HIV can be controlled by medication and what has caused this new complacency.

A quarter of a century after the disease first caused widespread fear - on a global level - our trepidation has been replaced by a far more relaxed attitude and "easygoing lifestyle". Fry attempts to discover why the subject garners less attention and questions our social attitudes to the condition.

He asks whether the popular beliefs about HIV and AIDS are correct - that it can be controlled - or whether there is still a stigma related to the condition. He also find out which groups are most at risk from the disease.

Although Fry has experience working with AIDS charities, he says he "hasn't really connected" with people with first-hand experience of the disease. In this programme he seeks to rectify that by embarking on a personal journey to find out more about the world of HIV and AIDS today.


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