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Image: YouTube | Channel 4.
International, News

Surge in HIV information searches and tests after series It’s a Sin

UK HIV and sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust has given more tests in the last week that ever before, with television drama series It’s a Sin credited for the surge.

At the end of National HIV Testing Week, the charity revealed that over 8,000 tests were ordered last Monday, almost triple the previous record for a single day.

“The power of TV to change lives,” tweeted Terrence Higgins Trust.

 “It’s a Sin is Channel 4’s most binge watched new series and honours the heroes of the past – stopping our history being forgotten.

“It’s also led to more people that ever taking action and getting tested during National HIV Testing Week.

“What a legacy. La!”

Actor Omari Douglas, who plays Roscoe in the hit series, told BBC Breakfast that he found the testing response incredible.

“The fact that a piece of television has had such a cultural impact, but also the public health impact, is just crazy,” Douglas said.

Co-star Olly Alexander, who plays Ritchie, said that the result was “just amazing”.

“I’m trying not to cry,” said an emotional Alexander.

“I’m just really moved by it, honestly.”

It’s a Sin features an all-star, gay-led cast of characters coming of age in London at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Writer Russell T Davies has praised the “authenticity” of the cast and spoken of the importance of gay actors playing gay roles.

The Terrence Higgins Trust wrote on social media that Google searches for HIV information have skyrocketed since the series began screening.

Searches for “why was AIDS so deadly during the 1980s” increased by more than 3,000% after the first episode, and searches for “does AIDS cause fits [seizures]” increased by over 4,000%.

Since the early days of the epidemic depicted in It’s a Sin, HIV has changed substantially, becoming easily prevented and treated.

HIV testing, prevention, and treatment are available from doctors, sexual health clinics, and LGBTIQ health centres.

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