List of HIV-positive television characters

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HIV-positive characters from television shows or made-for-television movie martin.

Year(s) Title Network Character Actor Notes
1985 An Early Frost NBC Michael Pierson Aidan Quinn The first made-for-television film to address people with AIDS.
1986 St. Elsewhere NBC Dr. Robert Caldwell Mark Harmon In "Family Feud" (aired January 29, 1986), Dr. Caldwell was diagnosed with HIV; after leaving the hospital his former colleagues are informed of his death in season six.
1986 Mr. Belvedere ABC Danny O'Neill Ina Fried "Wesley's friend" (aired January 31, 1986) is the first episode of a prime time TV sitcom to feature a character with AIDS. In the episode, a classmate of Wesley’s is pulled out of school after contracting HIV from a blood transfusion. The episode is similar to the real-life story of Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who successfully sued his school when he was expelled for contracting HIV from a blood transfusion.
1986 Hill Street Blues NBC Eddie Gregg Charles Levin In "Slum Enchanted Evening" (aired March 27, 1986), Belker meets an old informant, Eddie Gregg, a gay male sex worker, who is dying of AIDS.
1987-1989 All My Children ABC Cindy Parker Ellen Wheeler Controversy was prompted in 1987 with the arrival of Cindy Parker (Ellen Wheeler), who would later fall in love with Stuart. The character was revealed to have AIDS. Through visits by now-Dr. Angie Hubbard, the show educated the public on how the disease was spread and how to prevent it. Cindy had contracted HIV from her husband, Fred, played by Mark Morrison who contracted it from sharing needles for drug use. Cindy is attacked by a vigilante hate group led by her niece, Skye Chandler. The tragedy of the attack shows the extremes of violence that occur every day to individuals with the disease. Cindy marries Stuart and he adopts her son, Scott. She dies early in 1989 in one of the show's most watched episodes.
1987 Another World NBC Dawn Rollo Barbara Tyson The first AIDS-related storyline on a daytime soap opera in the United States,[1] Dawn was introduced as the sister of Chad Rollo and a love interest for Scott LaSalle. She soon learned that she had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion, and died of AIDS in 1988.
1987 Designing Women CBS Kendall Dobbs Tony Goldwyn In "Killing All the Right People", Kendall is a young gay man with AIDS who asks the women to design his funeral.
1987 The Equalizer CBS Mickey Robertson Corey Carrier Six-year-old boy with AIDS is protected from harassment from his neighbors by the titular character.
1988 Go Toward the Light CBS Ben Madison Joshua Harris A young couple face the realities of life with their child who is diagnosed with AIDS. The young couple (played by Linda Hamilton and Richard Thomas) try to save their young son from the virus.
1988 Midnight Caller NBC Mike Barnes Richard Cox In "After It Happened" (1x03, aired December 13, 1988), Mike is a bisexual man who deliberately infects men and women, including Tina and Kelly, with HIV. Ross is Mike's former partner, who Mike abandons when Ross gets sick. The episode was controversial, drawing protests from San Francisco AIDS groups who believed the episode would encourage violence against gay people and people with AIDS.[2] Kay Lenz won an Emmy Award for her portrayal. She reprised her role in 1989's "Someone to Love".[3]
Tina Cassidy Kay Lenz
Kelly West Julia Montgomery
Ross Parker J. D. Lewis
1989–1991 Degrassi High CBC Television Dwayne Meyers Darrin Brown Heterosexual white male teenager, infected by a summer girlfriend.
1989 The Ryan White Story ABC Ryan White Lukas Haas Documentary film. 13-year-old haemophiliac who contracted HIV from factor VIII
1990–2003 EastEnders BBC Mark Fowler Todd Carty Heterosexual male; former runaway who returned to his family after contracting HIV; died of an AIDS-related illness. He was the world's first soap opera character to contract the disease, and also the first to portray an HIV/AIDS character on a major television show outside North America.
1991 Neon Rider CTV Walt Philip Granger A social worker,[4] he firsts tests HIV-positive in the show's 17th episode, "Saint Walt". At first he has a difficult time with the news, and consumes alcohol excessively to cope. He later begins dating Amanda (Kathe Mazur), although his HIV status puts a strain on their relationship. He comes down with Pneumocystis pneumonia in the episode "Moving On".
1991–1993 Life Goes On ABC Jessie Chad Lowe White male teenager, infected by girlfriend.
1991 A Different World NBC Josie Webb Tisha Campbell African-American college student infected by her high school boyfriend.
1991 thirtysomething ABC Peter Montefiore Peter Frechette Gay male, infected by one of his partners
1992 Something to Live for: The Alison Gertz Story ABC Alison Gertz Molly Ringwald Documentary film. Female, infected during a one-night affair
1993 And the Band Played On HBO Various The shows details the original discovery of AIDS and early problems in dealing with the disease
1993–95 General Hospital ABC Stone Cates Michael Sutton White male teenager
1994 The Real World MTV Pedro Zamora Openly gay, contracted HIV from one of his partners. Zamora became a well-known AIDS educator
1994–present General Hospital ABC Robin Scorpio Kimberly McCullough white female teenager, infected by her boyfriend Stone Cates.
1996 Pacific Drive Nine Network Bethany Daniels Melissa Tkautz First regular HIV positive character on a TV drama in the world; character is a white model who is infected by her former boyfriend. She learns to live with disease and eventually, combination therapies begin working for her
1996 NYPD Blue ABC Ferdinand Holley Giancarlo Esposito Appears on episode 3x17 "Hollie and the Blowfish" (aired March 26, 1996); character is a police informant who robs drug dealers and was infected through drug use.[5]
1996 Murder One ABC Richard Cross Stanley Tucci Cross is an unscrupulous businessman whose imminent death from AIDS leads to an ethical awakening.
1997 Oz HBO Various Men, infected while in prison. HIV positive inmates are isolated in Unit E, a cell block exclusively for HIV positive inmates not allowed to be amongst general inmate population.
1998 Law & Order NBC Kenneth "Twist" Stark Jason Hayes In the April 1, 1998, episode "Carrier" (8x17), Stark was charged with murder and attempted murder for deliberately infecting women with HIV.
1999 ER NBC Jeanie Boulet Gloria Reuben African-American female adult, infected by husband.
2001–2005 Queer as Folk Showtime Vic Grassi Jack Wetherall Vic was Michael Novotney's uncle. Ben was Michael's boyfriend and a college professor. Hunter was a former hustler who became Ben and Michael's foster son.
Ben Bruckner Robert Gant
James "Hunter" Montgomery Harris Allan
2002 Takalani Sesame SABC Kami Fran Brill (voice) Five-year-old female puppet. Contracted HIV via tainted blood transfusion. World's first HIV-positive Sesame Street muppet.
2004 Everwood The WB Linda Abbott Marcia Cross Globe-trotting doctor. Contracted HIV while trying to save a dying boy in Africa.
2005 Commander in Chief ABC Vince Taylor Anthony Azizi A special White House aide to Mackenzie Allen, the President of the United States. He is blackmailed over his HIV status by members of the opposing political party, and the president initially fires him for not trusting her enough to disclose his status to her. However, she ultimately rehires him and expresses public confidence in his work.
2005 Nip/Tuck FX Gina Russo Jessalyn Gilsig Sex addict. Had a child before she knew she was infected with the virus but the baby did not contract it. Re-appeared briefly to work as a receptionist at McNamara/Troy but died soon after when she fell off a building.
2005 House Fox Kalvin Ryan Matthew John Armstrong Homosexual male; demands treatment from House though the team questions whether advanced HIV infection (AIDS) is truly causing his symptoms. Episode 2x07, "Hunting"
2005–2008 Home and Away Seven Network Cassie Turner Sharni Vinson Cassie contracted HIV after sleeping with her older boyfriend Henk, who had contracted the disease from a drug-addicted former girlfriend.
2007–2009 The Best Years The N Lee Campbell Alan van Sprang Bisexual Lee owns local hot spot nightclub Colony.
2008–2010 Hollyoaks Channel 4 Malachy Fisher Glen Wallace Heterosexual male; contracted the disease and kept it a secret from girlfriend Mercedes. He told his brother Kris as he may have contracted it from a one-night stand with Merdedes. Mercedes & Malachy were to marry but ended their relationship, a row in the pub saw Mercedes reveal his status to his friends and family. The couple later married, Mercedes was tested and her results came back negative.
2008 South Park Comedy Central Eric Cartman Trey Parker (voice) In the episode "Tonsil Trouble" (12x01, aired March 12, 2008) Cartman is infected with HIV during a tonsillectomy. When Kyle Broflovski mocks him, Cartman secretly injects him with infected blood to pass on the virus. Both are subsequently cured through injections of money into the bloodstream.
Kyle Broflovski Matt Stone (voice)
2009 The League FX Ted Adam Brody Recurring character in the show's fifth season.[6] Other characters actually envy his HIV status, believing it might be the antiretroviral medication that makes him handsomer and more successful both in his career and at fantasy football than most of the rest of them are.[6]
2010–2011 Brothers & Sisters ABC Saul Holden Ron Rifkin Saul is an older man who comes out as gay in the show's second season, and later tests HIV-positive in the fourth season. In the show's final season he enters a relationship with Jonathan, the man who had unknowingly given him HIV originally.
Jonathan Byrold Richard Chamberlain
2014–2015 Emmerdale ITV Val Pollard Charlie Hardwick Heterosexual female; contracted the disease after having a fling in Portugal with a married man, Ian. She kept her status secret from her family, including her husband Eric. After a complaint about HIV was posted on her B&B website, Val announced her HIV to everybody in the pub. The culprit was discovered to be youngster Jacob Gallagher. Val ended her marriage with Eric after realizing that he could not accept her status. They soon reconciled after realising they could not live without each other.
2014 The Normal Heart HBO Ned Weeks Mark Ruffalo Adaptation of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, considered one of the most important dramatic depictions of the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Felix Turner Matt Bomer
Craig Donner Jonathan Groff
Albert Finn Wittrock
Sanford Stephen Spinella
2014–2017 Transparent Amazon Studios Shea Trace Lysette Shea is known on the series as a yoga instructor and the friend who teaches Maura how to say "Yas queen!" She has a brief fling with Josh in season three, but has not returned to the series since that. Davina continues to make recurring appearances on the series. She is a friend of Maura's and contracted HIV when pre-transition from an older man.
Davina Alexandra Billings
2015 Looking HBO Eddie Daniel Franzese Bear who works in a homeless shelter for LGBT youth.[7]
2015–2020 How to Get Away with Murder ABC Oliver Hampton Conrad Ricamora After insisting that he and his boyfriend, Connor Walsh, get tested, Oliver finds out that he is HIV positive.
2018–2021 Pose FX Blanca Evangelista Mj Rodriguez The second scene of the show (in episode 1x01) sees Blanca being diagnosed with HIV, causing her to set up her own House.[8]
Tony Glamo Tony, a former student at the dance school, dies of AIDS in hospital in episode 1x03.[9]
Costas Jonny Sibilly Costas, boyfriend of Billy Porter's Pray Tell, is dying of AIDS in hospital; we see him in episodes 1x03 and 1x05.[9]
Pray Tell Billy Porter When Pray Tell takes all the children of House Evangelista to get tested (in episode 1x04), he discovers he is HIV positive.[10]
2021 It's a Sin Channel 4 Ritchie Tozer Olly Alexander It's a Sin is a drama about the HIV/AIDS crisis as it occurred in 1980s Britain. For the sake of brevity, only characters which received top cast billing are included here.
Colin Morris-Jones Callum Scott Howells
Henry Coltrane Neil Patrick Harris
Various other characters
2021–present Doctors BBC One Luca McIntyre Ross McLaren A HIV-positive nurse who admits his condition to a patient who is worried about dying from the condition. The patient posts about Luca's HIV online and he receives trolling and protests from people who believe he will transmit HIV to patients.[11]


  1. ^ Giddens, Jamey (December 1, 2010). "Soap Operas and AIDS: From Tragedies to Triumph". Daytime Confidential.
  2. ^ Baker, Kathryn (December 13, 1988). "Midnight Caller on NBC stirs AIDS fears". The Free Lance–Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. p. 28. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  3. ^ "Kay Lenz reprises Emmy-winning role as AIDS victim". Chronicle-Telegram. Elyria, Ohio. November 14, 1989. p. B-4.
  4. ^ "Neon Rider basking in shine of four Gemini nominations". The Vancouver Sun. January 28, 1994. p. C3.
  5. ^ "NYPD Blue, episode "Hollie and the Blowfish" (1996)". IMDb. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Thomas, June (September 11, 2013). "Why Did The League's Creators Give a Character AIDS?". Slate.
  7. ^ "Looking's Daniel Franzese On His HIV-Positive Bear Character, Being Completely Naked On Screen And Why He Came Out Publicly". Queerty. January 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari (June 3, 2018). "Pose presents a stylish, radical celebration of queer joy". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Amari Sali (June 18, 2018). "Pose: Season 1/ Episode 3 "Giving and Receiving" – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)". Wherever I Look. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  10. ^ Chavez, Danette (June 24, 2018). "Pose's Billy Porter tells us how he found strength in tonight's gut-wrenching episode". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  11. ^ Timblick, Simon. "'Doctors' spoilers: The Mill is VANDALISED!". What to Watch. (Future plc). Retrieved 9 December 2021.