Aids: The Aids Generation 4 July 2022: Episode 2 on BBC Two

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London, 1986. Four years after Aids first appeared in Britain and the death of Terry Higgins, more gay men than ever are believed to be infected with HIV, and the numbers receiving Aids diagnoses is rising.

Amid increased calls from the gay community for a national public health strategy, government action is still yet to be fully realised. Those arriving at hospitals with Aids receive variable care or even open hostility. A bombshell hits when predictions show an exponential rise in cases outside of the gay community, and the government creates the high-impact ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ campaign, targeting every household in the country, in the biggest public health emergency since World War II.

Britain’s first specialist Aids ward is opened by Princess Diana, and this watershed moment shows the public that the virus cannot be contracted merely by touch. Dedicated wards across London create a haven for the vast numbers of gay men facing horrific and complex opportunistic infections.

The emotional and political rollercoaster of the late 1980s continues as Section 28 is introduced, preventing teachers from educating their pupils on homosexual issues. Mass protests break out, amidst increasing deaths from Aids.

The stories of men including Jeremy, John, Martyn and Tony, recorded at the time, bring these experiences to life. Their real voices are lip-synced by actors, giving first-hand insight into their lives at the time. They try to adapt to their lives as part of the ‘Aids generation’ and struggle with the deaths of those they love.

There is still no cure, but finally towards the turn of the decade, public responses to people with Aids seem to be beginning to take small steps forward.

About Aids: The Unheard Tapes

Innovative series featuring interviews recorded at the height of the AIDS crisis in 80s and 90s Britain, lip-synced by actors, telling the story of HIV and AIDS in their own words.

This show is broadcast on BBC Two, also known as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

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