Hollyoaks’ Kieron Richardson: ‘HIV story is two people’s journeys’

1418643757_ste-hay-7Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson spoke further about his upcoming HIV storyline in a live TV interview on This Morning on Friday, (January 16).

The actor’s alter ego Ste Hay will be diagnosed as HIV positive in scenes airing next week. It is the first time that a British soap has featured a gay character living with HIV.

Ste contracted the condition last year when he had unprotected sex with a student named Connor. As well as promoting safe sex, Ste’s story will explore the effect that his HIV status has on his marriage to John Paul McQueen, his children and his physical and psychological wellbeing.

Speaking on ITV’s morning show today, Richardson explained: “I’ve been there [at Hollyoaks] for nine years so you think sometimes, ‘Am I a bit washed up now?’, but each year it just keeps getting bigger and bigger for the character and it’s challenging for me coming into work and doing the storylines.”

Asked why this story is particularly important to him, he replied: “I think it’s the fact that it hasn’t been done with a gay character before, which shocks me a little bit.

“I’ve got lots of friends that have got HIV as well, so it’s nice now that the show is giving a voice to the LGBT community – because it does happen and it is on the rise within our community, so why not tell the story?”

When Connor gets back in contact with Ste next week and suggests that he should get tested, Ste is forced to break the news to John Paul (James Sutton) before they both visit a clinic together.

Richardson continued: “Ste doesn’t really want to go. His first initial thought is, ‘I’d rather not know, I just want to carry on as normal’. Obviously he’s in a relationship and he can’t do that, so it’s whether or not he’s going to decide to go to the clinic – and the outcome is that Ste’s positive.

“It’s great because this is two people’s journeys. It’s not just Ste’s, it’s John Paul’s as well – how he deals with his husband having HIV. It’s great and then in a couple of weeks’ time, the whole village have to find out and it’s everyone’s reactions.”

In real life, Richardson is planning to marry his long-term partner Carl Hyland this year.

Speaking about the upcoming ceremony, he laughed: “The wedding’s getting bigger and bigger. My favourite thing when I go to a wedding is I want to see what the bride’s wearing and the dress. Unfortunately when you come to my wedding, that’s not going to happen because we’re not wearing dresses!

“I’ve decided to have… so far it’s gone up to 11 bridesmaids, but they’re going to be brides wearing 11 different wedding dresses!”

Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.

Story via DigitalSpy

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