SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “We Can Find Him,” the Nov. 1 episode of “How to Get Away with Murder.”
“It is like coming out again,” Ricamora said in a video interview with GLAAD’s Anthony Ramos.
GLAAD worked as an advisor on the episode, introducing writers to people living with HIV so they could hear their personal stories of telling family members they were positive.
The ABC and Shondaland drama first revealed Oliver tested positive for HIV in its first season, when he and his now-fiance Connor (Jack Falahee) were first dating. He told Connor right away but kept it a secret from his family for years. However, that all changed in “We Can Find Him,” when Oliver and his mother (Mia Katigbak) were at a fitting for his wedding tuxedo.
Oliver asked his mother why she didn’t like Connor, and she started talking about how before Oliver met him, he had a good job and was close to his family. Oliver took the moment to explain Connor wasn’t the reason he was pulling away, though and revealed the truth.
“There is this tendency to approach storylines with characters living with HIV and AIDS with such a heaviness and I think that just in showing Oliver living his day-to-day life, even in episodes where we haven’t mentioned it, it is allowing people to see characters and a person living with HIV that is thriving and it’s not about them having a crisis,” Ricamora said.
Ricamora, who is gay, shared that growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, he recalled so many people were getting sick and dying, but now the diagnosis is not a death sentence.
“I hope we do reduce some of the stigma of living with HIV because people are thriving and living healthy lives,” Ricamora continued. “We should reflect that back and continue to show people protecting themselves and talking about Prep, which we’ve done in previous episodes. But also showing that people that are living with HIV are people first, and laugh and get angry and cry and are three-dimensional people.”
Watch the video GLAAD released in conjunction with the episode below: