The newest ”Sesame Street” Muppet will be brought to you by the letters H, I, and V. Variety reports that, in September, a Muppet infected with the AIDS virus will debut on ”Takalani Sesame,” the version of ”Sesame Street” that airs in South Africa, where an estimated one in nine people is infected with HIV.
”Sesame” producer Joel Schneider announced the introduction of the HIV-positive Muppet, who does not yet have a name or a final design, at this week’s 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain. ”There is no systemic education for children about the HIV virus and AIDS. They often receive a lot of misinformation,” he tells Variety. ”We know in South Africa, as well as in other places, the virus is a huge issue.” Some of those countries (among the 70 in which ”Sesame” airs) where the new Muppet might also appear may include Russia and Mexico, Schneider suggested. It was not clear whether the character would also join Bert and Ernie in the U.S. ”Sesame Street.”