AN HIV charity has praised the courage of a contestant on Drag Race UK for speaking openly about living with the condition.

Sussex Beacon, which specialises in care and support for people living with HIV, said Charity Kase’s bravery in talking about their status has helped reduce the stigma that continues around the disease.

In last night’s episode of the hit BBC Three show, Charity, 24 from Preston, revealed she was diagnosed with HIV aged 18.

She said: “It was really hard for me to process that at 18. Six years on, I am still living with the after effects of one night where this guy took advantage of me.”

In a conversation with fellow contestant Kitty Scott-Claus, she explained how she has been subject to discrimination on dating apps due to her status.

“People message saying: ‘You’re diseased, you’re disgusting, stay away from me.’ Just horrible, nasty comments that are really degrading and mean.”

Charity also explained they take tablets daily to make sure they cannot pass HIV on to others and that they have a normal life expectancy.

Bill Puddicombe, executive director for Sussex Beacon, said: “We must commend Charity’s courage in speaking openly about her HIV status. Every time a public figure does so, it helps to reduce stigma and misinformation about HIV and this results in people living with the virus being stigmatised and socially isolated.

“If a person living with HIV is taking their prescribed medication and has an undetectable viral load (which is the case for the vast majority of people living with the virus), then they cannot pass it on.

“This message needs to be more widely known and understood.”

Drag queens in the competition are fighting for the chance to be crowned the UK’s next drag superstar and produce a Hollywood mini-series with the producers of the American version of the show.

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