Seb Franklin will be forced to face an uncertain future when he’s told that he’s HIV positive in next week’s Coronation Street.
Following his fall from a ladder in an upcoming episode, Seb’s condition will worry doctors, who are concerned that his white blood cell count is too low.
Clearly scared, Seb’s mum Abi confesses to Anna that Seb might have contracted HIV from an ex-girlfriend but she’s never had the courage to tell him.
After initially refusing to take the test, Seb eventually agrees, but is left stunned when he learns of the result.
But what does all this mean for Faye? If Seb is HIV positive, then might Faye be too? Here’s actor Harry Visinoni – who plays Seb – with his take on the emotional storyline:
So, when is the first time that Seb is told he could have HIV?
Seb’s when he’s just come round, so he’s totally unsuspecting. Abi and Anna come in and Seb picks up that something is not right.
What’s Seb’s first thoughts when he hears that he may have HIV?
Seb thinks, ‘Why? How?’ – he doesn’t think it’s real. He’s in a lot of shock, it’s totally unexpected. It’s probably the last thing he thought they were going to say.
Why does he refuse the test? He’s scared. One half of Seb is in denial and doesn’t want to find out for sure, but the other half of him thinks he probably does have it, so there’s no point in taking the test. He might as well just resign his fate.
For his whole life, he’s felt like he’s let down his brother and sister, that he is a failure and that his mum hates him. So part of him is questioning whether he wants to even carry on. He’s always felt low, but this is the most hopeless he’s felt.
What’s his reaction when he finds out he is HIV positive? Confusion – a sense of dread and hopelessness. Growing up as a teenager, he’s totally ignorant about everything and so, when he’s heard about HIV, he has heard that you can die from it.
How do Anna, Faye and Abi react? Abi doesn’t hold it together very well, which frustrates Seb. But Anna and Faye treat him like their family. But it’s scary for them because Faye possibly has it as well…
Have you seen a different reaction from viewers after we’ve seen Seb’s home life? Yes, it’s gone from comments like ‘pasty little teenager’ to people saying, ‘you’re doing a good job’, so it’s been nice! It’s great that his background offers an explanation to why he has behaved the way he has.
Have you done any research into HIV? When I started to look into HIV, I felt really ignorant myself because, until this storyline was given to me, I didn’t realise that you can live a life with HIV and it not affect your day-to-day life. And it surprised me to there is still such a stigma attached to HIV. It’s such a global disaster, for example the effects that it has had on Africa, it’s really upsetting.
Have you found it challenging to play this storyline? It’s been challenging working out where all the emotion is coming from within myself, but I’ve really put time into it. It’s great to be a part of this storyline and to do my bit to help rid the prejudice around HIV.
What do you anticipate the audience reaction to be? If people don’t know much about HIV, hopefully they’ll be as surprised as I was to find out that it is something that you can live with. Hopefully, they learn more about HIV than they did beforehand.