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EastEnders SPOILER: Zack Hudson set to be diagnosed with HIV – 30 years on from Mark Fowler’s groundbreaking storyline

EastEnders have confirmed that Zack Hudson will be diagnosed with HIV in a hard-hitting new storyline.

In upcoming scenes, the character – played by James Farrar – will receive a visit from an old pal called Brett (Fabrizio Santino), who urges Zack to get tested after learning that he has the virus himself.

The plot will come over 30 years since the BBC Soap tackled the groundbreaking Mark Fowler storyline, in which the market trader was diagnosed with the virus in 1991, before dying of an AIDS-related illness 13-years later. 

Important: EastEnders have confirmed that Zack Hudson will be diagnosed with HIV in a hard-hitting new storyline

Important: EastEnders have confirmed that Zack Hudson will be diagnosed with HIV in a hard-hitting new storyline

EastEnders will work with the Terrence Higgins Trust on the storyline to accurately reflect the realities of living with the virus, as well as to raise awareness of HIV. 

After receiving his HIV diagnosis, the soap will also explore everything from the treatment options for Zack to him adjusting to life with HIV.

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EastEnders’ 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.

Revisited: The plot will come over 30 years since the BBC Soap tackled the groundbreaking Mark Fowler storyline, in which the market trader was diagnosed with the virus in 1991

Revisited: The plot will come over 30 years since the BBC Soap tackled the groundbreaking Mark Fowler storyline, in which the market trader was diagnosed with the virus in 1991

‘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.’

While Ian Green, chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, shared: ‘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.

Storyline: In upcoming scenes, the character - played by James Farrar - will receive a visit from an old pal called Brett (Fabrizio Santino), who urges Zack to get tested after learning that he has the virus himself

Storyline: In upcoming scenes, the character – played by James Farrar – will receive a visit from an old pal called Brett (Fabrizio Santino), who urges Zack to get tested after learning that he has the virus himself

‘His story was viewed by millions and helped change attitudes about the virus when fear and misinformation was rife.’

Ian continued: ‘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.

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‘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.’

Raising awareness: EastEnders will work with the Terrence Higgins Trust on the storyline to accurately reflect the realities of living with the virus, as well as to raise awareness of HIV

Raising awareness: EastEnders will work with the Terrence Higgins Trust on the storyline to accurately reflect the realities of living with the virus, as well as to raise awareness of HIV

Character: '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'

Character: ‘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’

In recent weeks, viewers have seen Zack adjust to the idea of becoming a father, after Whitney Dean’s unexpected pregnancy.

However, the soap has yet to reveal how Zack’s diagnosis will affect Whitney, as well as his other former lovers including Sam Mitchell and Nancy Carter. 

EastEnders airs on Mondays – Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and iPlayer. 

Plot: The soap has yet to reveal how Zack's diagnosis will affect Whitney, as well as his other former lovers including Sam Mitchell and Nancy Carter (pictured with Kat Slater)

Plot: The soap has yet to reveal how Zack’s diagnosis will affect Whitney, as well as his other former lovers including Sam Mitchell and Nancy Carter (pictured with Kat Slater)

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