General Hospital-TV Soap & HIV Storyline


The television drama that is credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running American soap opera currently in production is General Hospital. GH premiered on the ABC television network on April 1, 1963 It holds the record for most Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Drama Series, with 10 wins. Yes, we all have watched it along with yours truly.. mwuah.

The biggest TV wedding took place on November 17, 1981 of Luke and Laura, played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis, and was the most watched event in daytime serial history. Yes, alas I watched it and you did also! Also, anytime Rick Springfield was on the show it rocked. Ok, where was I, ahh yes.

In the 1990s, GH entered a transitional phase and tried new story-lines.  The show gained critical acclaim for its sensitive handling of social issues like; heart transplants, breast cancer, adoption and HIV/AIDS.

GH was also praised for the storyline in the form of the beautiful but tragic love story of teenagers Stone Cates (Michael Sutton) and Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough). After a struggle that lasted throughout most of 1995, Stone died from AIDS at the age of 19 and his death was followed by story-lines in which 17 year old Robin had to deal with being HIV-positive as a result of her and Stone’s relationship. The storyline got Sutton a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor and won McCullough an Outstanding Younger Actress Award.  ABC featured an “After School Special” revolving around the AIDS story.  Using Robin’s life as example, the show covered antiretrovirals, safe sex and prevention of mother-to-child transmission.  But like all good things, GH is saying goodbye to the HIV character thus ending a great daytime audience to inform properly about HIV/AIDS.  We thank GH, ABC and Port Charles for being in the forefront with this character.

Tom Thayer


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