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'It's A Sin' Star: I Became HIV-Positive after My First Sexual Experience

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday January 30, 2021

Actor and AIDS activist Nathaniel Hall, a star of the '80s-set HBO Max five-episode miniseries "It's A Sin," became HIV-positive after his very first sexual experience. Hall revealed his experience in a 2019 interview, UK newspaper The Daily Mail reports.

Hall, 34, was 16 when he had a "whirlwind romance" with a man who was in his 20s, the article said. "Nathaniel was diagnosed with HIV just weeks after his 17th birthday," the article added.

The actor said hearing he was positive was "like being hit by a truck," the Daily Mail relayed. Given "a prognosis of 37years," Hall said, "That was so hard to hear, to have a date on it."

After years of struggle with substance abuse Hall turned to art to exorcise his demons, writing and starring in a one-man play called "First Time," which he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019. In an interview with PHA Models at that time, Hall disclosed that he had "kept the diagnosis from most people, including my family, for over 14 years.

"After a mini-breakdown," he went on to say, "I felt something needed to change."

Hall spoke about wanting to dispel myths around HIV. "For all the progress in how the disease is treated, it is still, in my opinion, the only condition with such a stigma attached." he said. "And when I looked at stories about HIV in popular culture, I didn't see myself reflected back.

"All the portrayals are of the height of the AIDS epidemic," the actor explained. "But I, and most others living with HIV won't ever develop AIDS because we're on effective treatment — we also can't pass the virus on to partners if our viral load is undetectable after 6 continuous months of successful treatment. This is information people simply don't know."

"It's A Sin" is, itself, set amid the peak years of the AIDS crisis. As previously reported at EDGE, the series "follows three gay teenagers as they move to London and navigate sexual freedom and heartache" in the midst of the epidemic.

The series is the creation of out TV writer Russell Davies, who also created the original British "Queer As Folk" (1999) from which Showtime's American remake (2000 - 2005) stemmed. Davies, the Daily Mail noted, "loosely based 'It's A Sin' on his own experiences in the eighties."

Hall's character, Donald, is "the actor boyfriend of leading man Olly Alexander's Ritchie Tozer," the article said. The miniseries also features out actors Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.