Conrad Ricamora, who plays Oliver on How To Get Away With Murder, and Daniel Franzese, who plays Eddie on Looking, have been the only HIV-positive characters to appear on television so far this year. Both actors agree that the lack of representation of poz characters is a major problem, and something that needs to change within the industry. The duo talked to HIVPlus magazine, which features Ricamora on the cover this month. ((Warning: the rest of the article may contain spoilers!))
When Ricamora's character tested positive in the season finale of HTGAWM, fans were heartbroken. But it marked the first time since the end of Brothers & Sisters in 2011 that a major character on a network show was HIV positive. Of his contribution to this glaring void, Ricamora said:
"It's a huge honor to be able to bring this back into the consciousness. I remember growing up in the '90s, it was such a big educational topic.... [But] in the last couple of years, it's slid out of the consciousness of mainstream America."
Similarly groundbreaking was Franzese's character, the bubbly Eddie, coming out as HIV-positive on HBO's Looking. In reflecting on his part, Franzese had this to say:
"Eddie's not sick. There are no sad things that have to do with Eddie. There are problematic things that he has to deal with in his life, but most of them are social. There's not going to be a 'very special episode' about Eddie. I found that to be so progressive."
To read the full set of interviews, visit HIVPlus.