Words: Hugh Kaye
It was 1981 and although research would later suggest earlier infections, San Francisco resident Ken Horne was identified as the first HIV/Aids patient. Later that year, reports of the illness began to appear in newspapers while continental Europe then the UK recorded their first cases.
Panic, bigotry, ignorance and outright hatred followed. The death rates shot up over the following decades but no one could have foreseen that HIV would be weaponised. The Man Who Used HIV as a Weapon (BBC3, from Fri 15 Mar, and BBC One on Tue 19 Mar at 23.05) tells the horrific story of Daryll Rowe who set out to infect other men with the virus.
The documentary features five men who tell their story after the 28-year-old hairdresser from Brighton either had unprotected sex with his partners, or sabotaged condoms, after meeting them through dating apps. Quite why this important programme is hidden away online is beyond me.
On a thankfully lighter note, farmer Richard has to choose between three men seeking his affection in the dating series Love in the Countryside (BBC2, Weds 13 Mar, 11.15pm), and TOTP2: Wham! Special (Yesterday, Sat 9 Mar, 7pm) will, no doubt, feature all your favourites.
Meanwhile, Deadpool 2 (Sky Movies Premiere, Fri 15 Mar, 8pm) among the fun super-hero comedy stuff, features a lesbian couple, a potential pansexual romance and a kick in the arse for gay conversion therapy.
If you can’t get through the week without your fix of queens, check out RuPaul’s Drag Race Untucked on Neflix. You’ll get to see behind the scenes to discover what happens away from the runway. And some of the contestants turn up on Look at Huh, also on the streaming service.
There’s also Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, a film focusing on a teenager’s struggles when his desires conflict with the moral codes of his upbringing, and you can catch the late Luke Perry as season three of Riverdale continues its run.