EastEnders fans were left devastated as Zack Hudson found out he was HIV positive.
Tonight's episode of the BBC one soap aired some heartbreaking scenes as Zack – played by James Farrar – was diagnosed as HIV positive. It will kick off a huge new storyline for Zack amid his news that he and Whitney are expecting a baby together.
On tonight's show, Zack found out he was HIV positive after Brett revealed to him last week that he had been diagnosed with the virus and since they had shared needles in the past and it was possible he had it, too.
"Zack! Right when he shared he was going to be a dad… He was told he’s HIV. His world has been split wide open. #Zack #EastEnders," one viewer wrote, as a second added: "Poor Zack, but he has to cope! It's not the end of the world, altho obviously it's not what he wanted to hear. The best thing is that there's information available because of this story. #EastEnders."
A third shared: "Zack’s been told he has hiv :( I’m so so glad EastEnders are doing this storyline and educating people on it, it’s still needed all these years later. And James Farrar is already smashing it! #EastEnders."
"Wow! Brilliant storyline and I love Zack! Hiv still needs to be talked about #Eastenders," a fourth penned.
The team on the BBC soap are working with the Terrence Higgins Trust on the sensitive storyline.
Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer of the BBC soap, said: "EastEnders has never shied away from covering sensitive issues and Zack’s story is one of these. There are still so many myths and disinformation surrounding HIV, so working closely with Terrence Higgins Trust has enabled us to really understand what it is like for those that are diagnosed with HIV and we hope that this storyline will bring more awareness of HIV and what it is like to live with the virus in 2023."
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, added of the storyline: "It’s been incredible to work with EastEnders on Zack’s story to show people across the UK that an HIV diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you from living life to the fullest.
"During the height of the HIV epidemic in the 1990s, we worked with EastEnders on Mark Fowler’s story to ensure HIV was portrayed accurately on screen. Mark was the first mainstream British TV character to be diagnosed with HIV. His story was viewed by millions and helped change attitudes about the virus when fear and misinformation was rife."
He continued: "Over 30 years on from Mark’s storyline and sadly myths about HIV are still held by far too many people. The incredible progress we’ve made around HIV means people on effective HIV treatment can’t pass on the virus and can have a normal lifespan. We hope that Zack’s storyline will educate viewers on the reality of HIV in 2023 and spark conversations in living rooms across the UK."