A Lesson I Learned About Aids On General Hospital This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Many people think that soap operas are nothing but daytime trash with talentless actors and actresses. I have to admit I felt this way until about three years ago. General Hospital seemed to be the topic of conversation among all my friends. Everybody except me was glued to their TV sets from three to four.

One afternoon my best friend practically tied me down to the couch and forced me to watch just one episode. She had promised she would leave me alone if I just watched it with her one day. It's true what they say about soaps being addictive. I soon became hooked on General Hospital.

Since then, for the past three years, I have been a faithful and devoted viewer. After watching a soap every day, you somehow feel like you know the characters as well as you know your best friend. You get to see all the situations they get themselves into and how they get themselves out. You see what goes on in their everyday lives. I often find myself talking to my friends about the characters as if they were actual people. I never realized how attached I could get to a soap.

General Hospital was a show I watched basically for entertainment. It never really taught me any lessons or even made me think - until last week. Last week a character named Robin Scorpio tested positive for HIV.

Robin is a seventeen-year-old girl who was

recently accepted to Yale University. She had unprotected sex with her boyfriend, Stone. Soon after Stone was diagnosed with AIDS. Robin was then tested for HIV. She tested negative. The doctors said that she would have to test negative two more times within a six-month incubation period in order to be one hundred percent sure. She tested negative the second time. The third time the doctor confirmed that she was, in fact, HIV positive.

As I sat there on my couch, with tears rolling down my face, I listened to the doctor tell Robin she had tested positive for HIV. It was as if one of my friends, my age, had been diagnosed with HIV.

That day I did not shut my TV off at four o'clock to do my homework. I stayed on my couch and thought. I realized that AIDS does not discriminate. Of course I always knew this, but that afternoon it was proven to me.

At first I was disappointed that the writers of General Hospital decided to have test Robin positive for HIV. I then realized if they didn't, a very poor message would be given to teens all over who watch the soap. If she had tested negative it would make the whole AIDS storyline unrealistic. Not having safe sex is a very irresponsible act. Robin's character now must live with the consequences of being irresponsible for the rest of her life. I firmly believe the writers of General Hospital gave an important lesson to people, especially teenage girls all over America. AIDS is a reality. If the sweet, innocent character of Robin on General Hospital can test positive for HIV, then

anybody can. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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