All Saints: Use Condoms

There was a lot to gripe about season 10 of All Saints. But my number-one gripe was the storyline with Erica (Ricki), Dan and his Hep C.

Dan and Ricki have been best friends for a few years. He contracts Hepatitis C from a needlestick injury, which makes Ricki realize how much she cares about him, and they get together. Yeah, I know it’s a cliché, but either Jolene Anderson and Mark Priestly delivered it well, or I’ve been watching All Saints for too long and my standards have dropped. Either way, that wasn’t the part of the storyline that bothered me.

Dan and Ricki never discuss safe sex. Wikipedia says that only 15% of Hep C cases occour from sex, and Health and Human Services Agency says if you have Hep C you should always use a condom.

But even if the odds of Ricki catching Hep C were negligible, I thought it was irresponsible of the writers and producers not to write in a few minutes – or even a few seconds – about safe sex regarding an incurable, possibly deadly STD. No scene about Dan and Ricki talking about the chances of her catching it and deciding to take the risk of not using condoms. (Something I would have accepted because at least Ricki had a say in it.) No condom packet in the corner as the camera panned out on their having sex. No morning-after of Dan’s housemate/best friend Jack who recently had an HIV scare making a casual remark “I hope you used a condom”. No Dan and Ricki’s boss Gabrielle – a woman established as someone who would speak her mind – saying something similar. Nope, it was just Dan and Ricki have sex, no precautions discussed, nope, overnight they became lovers and that’s the end of the story.

I have counseled so many female friends over not using condoms because their partners assured them ‘they were clean’. I can’t remember how many storylines in film and TV where the couple falls into bed (or whatever available space) without discussing safe sex/pregnancy/condoms have influenced people – women and men, but women in particular – into thinking it isn’t an issue. It’s bloody issue enough when you’re talking about random encounters, but when you’re talking about an established friendship when one knows about the others Hep C (and in Australia, it’s a registered disease, which means you must, by law, tell any partners you don’t use a condom with that you have it – along with HIV/AIDS) to not talk about having it is just irresponsible.

Can’t think of much to say other than that.

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