EastEnders’ Zack Hudson forced to share HIV diagnosis

EastEnders airs special flashforward scene for Christmas 2023

Ever since he was diagnosed with HIV, EastEnders resident Zack Hudson (played by James Farrar) has been struggling with the idea of others finding out. Ex-fling Sam Mitchell (Kim Metcalfe) is aware and has been supporting him through it. Recently, he plucked up the courage to tell Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) what he was going through by way of explanation for how he had acted throughout their baby’s death.

Despite this, he is still fearful of letting anyone else know lest he be judged as he feels there is a stigma attached to his status.

However next week he is forced to confront his fear when he is put in a compromising situation.

When Phil (Steve McFadden) convinces Zack’s sister Sharon (Letitia Dean) to host a charity boxing match she needs to find some fighters.

She persuades her brother to take on Phil’s son Ben (Max Bowden).

Although initially amped up for the fight, Zack is crestfallen when he is told that he’ll need a blood test to participate.

Fearful that his diagnosis will be exposed, on Thursday he turns to Whitney for support.

Having previously tried to persuade him to tell people she reiterates her feelings on the subject.

This time she gets through to him however when he agrees to share his status.

Sitting Sharon and his best friend Martin (James Bye) down, he tells them he can’t participate in the fight due to the fact he has HIV but how will they react?

This is the second time in EastEnders history that they have tackled an HIV storyline

Thirty years ago Martin’s brother Mark Fowler (Todd Carty) was revealed to have the virus.

The show is working closely with Terence Higgins Trust to accurately reflect and raise awareness of HIV.

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When the storyline was announced Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “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.”

EastEnders is on BBC One at 7.30pm Monday – Thursday.

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