‘In Our Blood’ shares Australia’s journey through HIV

The ABC documents Australia’s response to the AIDS pandemic with the creative and emotional new series On Our Blood. 

While the government and LGBTIQA+ communities’ response the discovery of HIV has been documented from a UK perspective in the brilliant series It’s a Sin while the US story is covered in The Normal Heart and Pose. Here was delve into Australia’s response which, while not flawless, was recognised as world leading.

The series kicks off thirty years ago in 1983, the night that Bob Hawke is elected Prime Minister, in gay pubs people are celebrating, on the dancefloor people are grooving to Depeche Mode and we meet political staffer David and his Columbian boyfriend Gabe. We dropped into a world where being gay is still illegal but there’s an excitement that the lives of LGBTIQA+ people are about to change.

David’s an advisor to the federal health minister and his position gives us insight into the health bureaucracy, politics and many barriers that arise as Australia experiences its first cases. In real life it was new federal health minister Neil Bluett and his advisor Bill Bowtell who were told about AIDS on their first day, here they are transformed into the fictional characters of Jeremy Wildings (Matt Day) and his advisor David (Tim Draxl).

Throughout the episodes a very queer chorus guides us with additional factoids and they often launch into song. This device gives the series it’s beiggest point of difference from the stories about HIV that have preceded it.

Having previewed the first two episodes we can’t wait to see the whole series when it airs on ABCTV from Sunday 19th March, which all episodes available on iView.

Graeme Watson 

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