Remembering TV shows that speak about AIDS

MUMBAI: Thirty years ago, the nation was in a crisis mode, agonising over the AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) virus. There are an estimated 10 lakh people currently living in India with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) (PLHIV). World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.

World AIDS Day is held on the 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. The red ribbon is the global symbol for solidarity with HIV-positive people and those living with AIDS.

As yet another World AIDS Day is observed, the nation can afford to look back with some satisfaction at its AIDS control programme. The timely and focussed programme has proved that all those doomsday predictions were wrong with India having managed to register a 57 per cent decrease in new infections in the past decade.

The government is taking all the possible measures to control the diffusion of the HIV virus. We at have pinned down a few television shows and films, which have displayed characters or a concept or a message on this deadly virus.

Here’s the list:

  • Real World

Real World is a reality television program on MTV. It was first broadcast in 1992 and has successfully penetrated in the entertainment world with 30 seasons. In its early years, the series was hailed for depicting issues of contemporary young adulthood relevant to its core audience like AIDS, sex, prejudice, abortion, illness, death, politics and substance abuse. The series later on garnered a reputation as a showcase for immaturity and irresponsible behaviour of the declining morals of contemporary youth.

   · The Normal Heart 

The Normal Heart is a 2014 American drama television film directed by Ryan Murphy and is written by Larry Kramer. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff and Julia Roberts. The film depicts the rise of HIV AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984. It takes an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fights to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.

   · Degrassi High 

This is the third television show in the Degrassi series of teen dramas about the lives of a group of teenagers living in Toronto. It ran from 1989 to 1991. Much like the entire series, this show also dealt with controversial issues ranging from AIDS, abortion, abuse, alcoholism, cheating, sex, death and suicide, dating, depression, bullying, transgender identity, gay rights, homophobia, racism, the environment, drugs and eating disorders.

   · A Different World

A Different World is an American television sitcom, which aired for six seasons starting from 1987 to 1993. One of the show’s episodes that aired in 1990 addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The original premise was to have a white student there and have Lena Horne as an acting teacher, but in production, the premise changed from being a story about a white girl in a black college to a black girl in a black college with a white friend.

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