September #166 : Crying Uncle - by Cristina Gonzalez

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Thou Shalt Fear AIDS

Lest We Forget

When to START Drugs?

You Said It

Burn that Belly

In Sync with ZInc

No Butts About It


HIV a Best Seller?

Considering Cannabis

The Importance of Remembering Ryan White

Insult to Injury

World Cup Wrap Up

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Angels Redux

Crying Uncle

Fear & Loathing in Illinois

Editor's Letter


Keeping Track

GMHC Treatment Issues- September 2010

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2010

Crying Uncle

by Cristina Gonzalez

Brothers & Sisters spotlights HIV and aging.

Screeching tires, breaking glass and disclosure—that was the explosive season 4 finale of ABC’s drama Brothers & Sisters. In the hotly debated episode, Uncle Saul (played by Ron Rifkin), a senior citizen, revealed he was HIV positive.

The episode has found criticism. It portrayed Sam secretly getting an HIV test, then waiting more than 24 hours to call for the results, when today’s rapid tests take 20 minutes. After receiving his HIV diagnosis, Saul denied to others he was positive, missing an opportunity to start a conversation about HIV and treatment options. Further, the show ended on a blood-phobic note with Saul pleading others not to touch him after the aforementioned car crash left him bloodied.

Despite these critiques, some advocates say the good outweighs the bad. Prime time TV is not only talking about the importance of HIV testing, but it’s also acknowledging the growing population of positive people ages 50 and over.

As the show’s fifth and possibly final season approaches, more questions loom. Will producers depict Saul dealing with the stigma of HIV, the issue of disclosure and the side effects that can be associated with treatment? Producers are staying tight-lipped, but they’ve said that next season will jump ahead one year, showing all the characters, including Saul, in dramatically different—and, we hope, healthy—stages in their lives.    

Search: Brothers, Sisters, Ron Rikfin, Uncle Saul, rapid tests, prime time, TV, disclosure

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