Following on from his acclaimed series The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, Stephen Fry now tackles an equally weighty, and just as misunderstood, medical issue.
In the early 80s, as Fry was beginning his professional career, an unknown virus was starting to appear internationally. Eventually labeled HIV, it was a mysterious killer that few understood and all were at a loss to treat.
Twenty-five years later, a few aspects of the affliction have changed, but the numbers remain staggeringly disheartening. Though 25 million have already died from the virus, 40 million now live with it, and the infection rate is accelerating. One-third of those infected don’t know it, though the test now only takes 15 minutes.
Demonstrating how the virus has worked its way into all facets of society, Fry introduces viewers to a range of unexpected faces, including a positive grandmother, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who was born with the virus, and HIV-positive couples who set out to have HIV-free children. Beginning with an episode that examines risks and cause factors, and wrapping with a look at living and dying with the disease, Fry tracks down people whose lives have been transformed by this surreptitious killer, including those he holds dear.
Partners: BBC Scotland and West Park Pictures (now part of DCD Media) distributed through NBD TV
Aired: October 2007 on BBC 2
Length: 2 x 59-minutes
Rights available: Worldwide, excluding UK