Kieron Richardson on link between online dating and HIV

Kieron Richardson has confessed he believes there may be a link between the rise in online dating and the rising number of HIV diagnoses

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Kieron Richardson

Kieron Richardson at the National Television Awards

'Hollyoaks' actor Kieron Richardson thinks online dating is partly to blame for the rise in cases of HIV.

The 29-year-old star, who plays Ste Hay in the Channel 4 soap, has opened up about his character's upcoming storyline, in which he will be diagnosed with the virus, to reveal he believes apps such as Tinder and Grindr are somewhat responsible for the rise in cases.

He said: "I think Grindr and things like that ... Back in the day, if you wanted to have sex with somebody you had to go to a bar, you had to go and meet them. You don't anymore you just tap a button on your phone and can meet somebody ten metres away, so maybe that's one of the reasons why."

The upcoming storyline will mark the first time a British soap has featured a gay character with HIV and Kieron admits a lot of research has gone into making sure it's done right.

Speaking at the National Television Awards last night (21.05.15), he said: "I've got friends who have HIV and we work massively with the Terence Higgins Trust and we got some guys in that have HIV and have been through this - we didn't want to go out on a limb and just blag it - so we spoke to them, researched everything."

Explaining that he will draw on a number of real life stories, Kieron added: "Because everybody is completely different and everybody's journey is completely different, and we're a TV show and we have to bring the show to a wide audience, and there's a range of emotions you can go through with HIV, it's not going to be based on one person in particular."

Meanwhile, Kieron's co-star Stephanie Davis - who plays Sinead Roscoe - is hoping the storyline will educate people on safe sex but also that it is possible to continue living your life with the virus.

She said: "Hopefully it will broadcast to people how easy it is to go and get checked but also how easy it is to live with, even though you might think it's the end of the world, you can live with HIV."

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