HIV/AIDS in Entertainment Roundtable (highlights)

Drawing on its long-standing partnerships with the entertainment industry, CDC and local health agencies, Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S) presented a roundtable, “HIV/AIDS in Entertainment,” which brought together TV writers, HIV experts, storytellers and members of the creative team from ABC’s hit series “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The discussion, held at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood on National HIV Testing Day (June 27), couldn’t have been more timely in another way: A recent online story in Variety reported on the lack of HIV stories and characters on TV in 2016, and how the absence of educational messages from HIV representation in entertainment is possibly related to the steady rate of infection today.

The panel featured Erika Green Swafford, a co-executive producer for “HTGAWM”; Daniel Robinson, a researcher for the show; Francisco Ruiz, a team leader with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Division of the CDC; Brian Toynes, manager of the Sexual Health Education Program at the LGBT Center; Thomas Davis, a staff member at the LGBT Center and a co-chair for the C2P LA Coalition (Connect to Protect Los Angeles Coalition); and Gilbert Bazan, HIV case manager, medical care coordination, at Valley Community Healthcare. Kate Folb, director of HH&S, served as the moderator.