New Series Examines What It Means To Be Gay And HIV Positive In 2016

“Mess,” Paul Victor’s new web series, aims to pick up where “The Normal Heart” and “Angels In America” left off by providing a poignant, yet entertaining, look at what it means to be gay and HIV positive in 2016.

The six-episode series, which debuted Oct. 2 on Vimeo, follows aspiring actor Andy (Victor), who finds out he’s tested positive for HIV. Pals Freddie (Jaime Cepero), Conrad (Elle Estanol) and Simon (Robbie Fowler) don’t just help Andy navigate life and love in the Big Apple, but most importantly, realize that the diagnosis doesn’t have to be the death sentence it once was. (Catch the trailer for the first episode above.) 

Victor, who raised funds for the series through an IndieGoGo campaign, told The Huffington Post that he based much of Andy’s journey on his own personal experiences after being diagnosed as HIV positive. In fact, some of the dialogue included in the series came directly from a journal that the writer-performer kept after his diagnosis. 

“Basically, everything [that Andy] goes through in the show, I went through… every event in ‘Mess’ came from a real-life experience,” he said. “It took me being diagnosed with HIV to realize that it’s not nearly as scary anymore ― thank God and thank all the amazing men and women and those in between who fought to get us to this point ― as it seems.”

Victor and his team have a few surprises up their sleeves for future episodes, including a cameo by “Rent” icon Anthony Rapp and a hunky love interest (Austin Miller) for Andy. 

If Victor’s show has one overriding message, it’s that “life doesn’t stop at HIV anymore,” he said. 

Check out the first episode of “Mess” in full below. 

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