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More Poz Characters on TV, Please

More Poz Characters on TV, Please


Shondaland drops two big reveals in #HTGAWM finale, now we're clamoring for more.

How to Get Away With Murder, another dropped two huge revelations on fans during the season finale: who killed Lila Stangard and Oliver Hampton’s HIV-positive diagnosis.

According Joseph Neese at, Hampton will be the first recurring character on network TV with a positive status. And until the reveal in the finale, only one character in all of television – Eddie on HBO’s Looking – was positive.

The lack of visibility of poz people on TV is silly, considering that 35 million people worldwide have HIV – especially considering the number of characters who have cancer across the TV landscape.

“I wanted to introduce the story line, because it felt very real to me, and I actually haven’t seen it dealt with on TV very recently,” said series creator Pete Nowalk told Entertainment Weekly, “Especially in their age group, with people maybe not using condoms as much as they should, people end up HIV positive. Really it just felt real and important in a certain way, because I like visibility of certain things that we don’t see a lot.”

How Hampton’s status will affect his relationship remains to be seen, but Nowalk promises it’s “going to be twisty and turny and hard.”

Just in time for the finale, GLAAD announced its partnership with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in a renewed effort to increase visibility of HIV/AIDS in media. They also released a new style guide for journalists when covering HIV.

“It’s time to put our red ribbons back on,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Just as we advocated for accurate coverage of HIV and AIDS in the 1980s, it is equally important today that we ensure fair, accurate, and inclusive stories in the media to build understanding that leads to better prevention.”

The organizations called on the entertainment industry to commit itself to creating more characters and stories that explore the realities of living with HIV.

Considering the trendsetting nature of Shondaland, Oliver Hampton may just be the first of many poz characters coming to TV. 

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