Zack Hudson, played by James Farrar, will be diagnosed with HIV in a major new storyline with EastEnders.


The BBC soap is working with the Terrence Higgins Trust charity to ensure the issue is tackled sensitively.

Zack will get the diagnosis this month when a former acquaintance, Brett (Fabrizio Santino), turns up in Walford and reveals that he has been diagnosed with HIV, and urges Zack to get tested.

The storyline will look to accurately portray the realities of receiving an HIV diagnosis, showing treatment options and implications for Zack who will learn to live with the virus.

Executive producer Chris Clenshaw said of the storyline: "EastEnders has never shied away from covering sensitive issues and Zack’s story is one of these.

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"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: "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.

"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."

James Farrar as Zack Hudson in EastEnders
James Farrar as Zack Hudson in an EastEnders episode to air next week BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

The character of Zack is currently dealing with an unexpected pregnancy with Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) after the pair had a one-night stand.

The impact of Zack's diagnosis on Whitney, their unborn baby and on his former lovers, including Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) and Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) have not yet been revealed.

For help, support and guidance around any matters raised in this article, visit the Terrence Higgins Trust charity website.

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EastEnders airs on Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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