Guest Author - Tricia Guirado
The ABC Soap Opera General Hospital features daytimeís first HIV+ character. The character of Robin Scorpio, played by Kimberly McCullough, was diagnosed with the disease in 1995. The show didnít shy away from this very topical subject. The character of Robin watched her first love, Stone Cates, deal with finding out he was HIV+ and then finding out he had full-blown Aids. The show focused on many of the stigmas and stereotypes associated with people who have HIV and Aids. The character of Robin learned that she was HIV+ right before Stone died. The actors even used an ABC after-school special to educate and inform people about the disease.
Fast forward to 2008 and General Hospital now has their HIV+ character becoming pregnant. Over the years, Robin Scorpio has maintained a low viral load and has achieved success as a physician. In the storyline, Robin has chosen to become a single mom and this in itself is very topical. There are various methods in which a HIV+ woman can become pregnant, but the show has chosen to have her conceive naturally without using Artificial Insemination or by any other means. Time will tell if they continue on this path of her being a single mom or if she is reunited with the babyís father, Patrick Drake. Either way, this story has the potential to inform and educate the public just like the original story did in 1995.
I am hopeful that General Hospital will tell this pregnancy story realistically. Even though this is a soap opera, the writers have a chance to change opinions and give true facts to the viewers. Itís up to them to make sure they arenít giving out any misinformation. People tend to believe what they see on TV, even on soaps, so itís important to tell the story factually. It will be interesting to see and hear the viewer feedback on this landmark storyline.
Iím excited to see Robinís journey through pregnancy and motherhood. Itís hard to find a good role model these days and General Hospital has the perfect one in their midst. It will be interesting to watch Robin struggle with her own mortality issues and the risks that she faces for herself and her baby. Hopefully, with the use of good storytelling and engaging scenes, this story will be memorable and educational.