Charity Kase has been praised for speaking openly about what living with HIV is like in the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.
In the third episode of Drag Race UK’s newest season, the queen shared that she went through a “really dark time” after her diagnoses.
“I moved to London when I was 17 and then when I was 18 I was having a good time and I was on the scene,” she says during the episode.
“But then I ended up contracting HIV and it was kind of really hard for me to process that at 18 and I was still a child, do you know what I mean?
“Six years on I’m still living with the after-effects of this one night where this guy took advantage of me.”
Charity shared that she continues to receive abuse for her HIV status, including being told “you are diseased, you are disgusting, stay away from me”.
“The trauma of getting diagnosed positive really comes from the stigma of HIV and it’s really sad that’s such a thing,” the 24-year-old explained.
In response to Charity speaking publicly on her experiences, the queen has received widespread support for using her platform to educate people.
Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust, said: “I applaud Charity Kase’s decision to be open about HIV. Better awareness about the reality of HIV today is vital to tackling stigma surrounding HIV and the information Charity has shared on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK tonight will educate so many.”
In our recent public knowledge poll, just 16% of people were aware HIV treatment stops the virus from being transmitted.
— National AIDS Trust (@NAT_AIDS_Trust) October 8, 2021
She continued: “We’re delighted Charity Kase has joined our call for the government to fully fund an end to HIV transmissions by 2030. While we strive to end new HIV transmissions it’s important for the world to see that people are living long and happy lives with HIV, and those on effective treatment cannot pass on the virus.
“Although no one is obliged to be open about their status, and it isn’t always an easy decision, the same stigma that makes it hard to say you have HIV, is a stigma that is gradually eroded by people being open and proud. Thank you Charity Kase.”
Ian Green, the CEO of Terrence Higgins Trust, said the queen is “incredible” for showing that having HIV “doesn’t have to stop you from living life to the fullest.”
He added: “As Charity explains, we’ve made so much progress in the fight against HIV – including that people on effective treatment can’t pass on the virus and can expect to live just as long as anyone else.
“However, public awareness about HIV hasn’t caught up with the medical advancements. Stigma and misconceptions about the virus continue to halt progress and lead people to feel shame, fear and anguish about their diagnosis.
“They’re a big part of why people living with HIV are far more likely to experience mental health problems than the general population.”
Here’s how fans reacted to the episode:
Charity Kase’s discussion about HIV on Drag Race tonight was so lovely – education about the stigma around HIV and the fact that U=U is the most important thing
— george (@georgegriffiths) October 7, 2021
Charity Kase is such a sweetheart. That moment of her sharing her story of living with HIV was just beautiful. 💞 #DragRaceUK
— Brad (@rate_brad) October 7, 2021
— SH2O (@ohohrupert) October 8, 2021
Charity Kase being so open & honest about her HIV status & everything she went through with that, from the age of 18, was incredible last night. What a brave, resilient & inspirational person. 👏🏼 Go ahead Charity! Break the stigma 👊🏼 @thecharitykase @dragraceukbbc pic.twitter.com/1BxuF1tprC
— Daniel Hutchinson (@dannyhutchins0n) October 8, 2021
Devastating to see continued stigma for HIV. This deters people from seeking help for what is a readily *preventable and treatable* condition – so it is stigma itself that allows HIV to spread. Huge 💕 to Charity Kase for bravely speaking out. #DragRaceUK https://t.co/4JTlMPpr2X
— Helen C @ H20 Health Comms (@H2O_HealthComms) October 8, 2021
Oh wow. Charity Kase disclosing their HIV status. We as a community need to do better to support those in *and out* of out community from vile abuse and isolation.
Let's erase phrases like 'you clean?' when asking about someone's status on apps.
Look into Prep. U=U. #DragRaceUK
— Hamza Jahanzeb (@hamzajahanzeb) October 7, 2021
Amazing to hear Charity Kase (is she on twitter?) talking about her HIV, busting a load of myths and educating people! What a legend! #DragRaceUK
— Dr Suzi Gage (@soozaphone) October 7, 2021
It’s sad that we still have new cases of HIV that could have been preventable through things like PrEP or comprehensive sex education. Hopefully stories like Charity Kase’s inspire people to get tested and make the best choices for their health so we can stop this pandemic
— Petty Davis (@DeeOhAytch) October 7, 2021
So glad Charity Kase is talking about her HIV diagnosis and the stigma around it. Dovetails nicely with the U=U in Sex Education season 3 too #DragRaceUK
— the Black leather daddy (@itsjacksonbbz) October 8, 2021