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Forty years ago a mysterious disease first appeared in Britain’s gay community. As the deadly virus ravaged young lovers and friends, the stigma of the 'gay plague' incited a backlash of ignorance and fear across the country.

At a time when few gay men felt they could talk openly, the stories of many of those first affected by the AIDS crisis have been lost.

However, a small group of historians set out to record interviews with those living at the heart of the unfolding epidemic, and these tapes were archived at the British Library.

The AIDS Tapes will bring these original recordings to a broadcast audience for the first time, and will be broadcast to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Terry Higgins, one of the very first people to die of an AIDS-related illness in the UK.

Actors lip syncing the original voices capture the men, their vibrancy, hopes and fears, as they were at the time in the 1980s and 1990s. They are supported by extraordinary interviews with the activists, doctors, nurses and survivors who were there by their sides.

As these voices unlock the past, The AIDS Tapes will tell the story of HIV and AIDS as it’s never been heard before.

Working with key experts and organisations including the Terrence Higgins Trust, this series will retell an unfolding scientific and medical detective story, exploring how doctors worked to discover the virus, how it was transmitted, how it could be prevented, and ultimately how it could be treated.

The AIDS Tapes is produced by Wall To Wall West, in partnership with The Open University, for BBC Two and iPlayer.

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