EastEnders fans praise Zack Hudson for telling ex Whitney Dean of his HIV diagnosis as they implore her to support him after she’s left in shock
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EastEnders viewers praised Zack Hudson for telling Whitney Dean he was HIV positive during Tuesday’s episode.
Zack, played by James Farrar, has been struggling to let his ex know of his status as he feared how she would react.
The pair were left devastated by the death of their little girl earlier this month, after doctors revealed she had Edwards’ Syndrome.
They are no longer together but Zack decided to finally tell Whitney (Shona McGarty) of his diagnosis.
While Whitney struggled to instantly accept Zack’s news, viewers took to Twitter to praise his handling of the situation, with many insisting Whitney could have handled things differently.
Honest: EastEnders viewers praised Zack Hudson for telling Whitney Dean he was HIV positive during Tuesday’s episode (James Farrar pictured as Zack)
Fearful: Zack has been struggling to let his ex know of his status as he feared how she would react (Shona McGarty pictured as Whitney)
One person wrote: ‘I hope Whitney accepts that Zack’s HIV diagnosis and helps him through it, these days on treatment your levels become undetectable and can’t be transmitted.’
Another viewer tweeted: ‘Proud of Zack for telling Whitney about the HIV! I get that she was hurt he never told her, but I didn’t like the way Whitney reacted though.’
Someone else posted: ‘I’m glad Zack has finally told Whitney the truth. I wish she wasn’t taking it so badly. I think he didn’t tell her before bc he feels ashamed of how he got it, & he was being like his own enemy! He’ll feel dejected now. The HIV didn’t make any difference to the baby!’
‘Zack finally being honest with Whitney about the HIV,’ wrote another viewer along with a smiling face emoji.
Unimpressed by Whitney’s reaction, one person wrote: ‘Whitney hasn’t considered Zack’s feelings in this having HIV.’
While someone else posted: ‘Whitney needs to think about someone else for a change and think about what Zack had to deal with, finding out he had HIV. I understand she is upset because he lied, but calling him a coward is so disgusting.’
Someone else wrote: ‘Just caught up on #EastEnders and I’m sorry but Whitney was AWFUL & SELFISH in the scene where Zack tells her about being HIV+! It’s not about YOU, Whitney! Also, that dialogue about her asking if Zack was with/caught it from a man…brilliant way to break the stigma EE!’
Whitney was upset Zack had not told her about his HIV status, questioning him on whether it had affected the health of their late baby.
Opinion: While Whitney struggled to accept Zack’s news, viewers took to Twitter to praise his handling of the situation, with many insisting Whitney could have handled things differently
When he insisted it hadn’t and he’d had confirmation from the doctors, she was angry he had spoken to them behind her back without telling her.
Earlier in the episode, Zack was seen meeting with a doctor who told him once his medication had brought his viral load to an undetectable level, he would not be able to pass HIV on.
He was advised to use protection and was told any partners could consider going on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), medication which can reduce the chance of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use when taken as prescribed.
The news delighted Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) who had attended the appointment with him as she thought it meant he and Whitney could be together.
But when Zack told Whitney of his diagnosis, she was shocked and asked him to leave her home.
Conversation: They are no longer together but Zack decided to finally tell Whitney of his diagnosis
Zack was seen starting his HIV medication in January as he was consumed with guilt over keeping Whitney in the dark about his condition.
He has been overwhelmed with shame about his HIV diagnosis and at first kept it to himself, only telling part of his problems to his sister Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean).
EastEnders airs on Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and iPlayer.
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WHY MODERN MEDS MEAN HIV IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE
Prior to 1996, HIV was a death sentence. Then, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) was made to suppress the virus. Now, a person can live as long a life as anyone else, despite having HIV.
Drugs were also invented to lower an HIV-negative person’s risk of contracting the virus by 99%.
In recent years, research has shown that ART can suppress HIV to such an extent that it makes the virus untransmittable to sexual partners.
That has spurred a movement to downgrade the crime of infecting a person with HIV: it leaves the victim on life-long, costly medication, but it does not mean certain death.
Here is more about the new life-saving and preventative drugs:
1. Drugs for HIV-positive people
It suppresses their viral load so the virus is untransmittable
In 1996, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) was discovered.
The drug, a triple combination, turned HIV from a fatal diagnosis to a manageable chronic condition.
It suppresses the virus, preventing it from developing into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which makes the body unable to withstand infections.
After six months of religiously taking the daily pill, it suppresses the virus to such an extent that it’s undetectable.
And once a person’s viral load is undetectable, they cannot transmit HIV to anyone else, according to scores of studies including a decade-long study by the National Institutes of Health.
Public health bodies around the world now acknowledge that U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable).
2. Drugs for HIV-negative people
It is 99% effective at preventing HIV
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) became available in 2012.
This pill works like ‘the pill’ – it is taken daily and is 99 percent effective at preventing HIV infection (more effective than the contraceptive pill is at preventing pregnancy).
It consists of two medicines (tenofovir dosproxil fumarate and emtricitabine). Those medicines can mount an immediate attack on any trace of HIV that enters the person’s bloodstream, before it is able to spread throughout the body.