UK tabloid newspaper The Sun is facing a growing backlash following today’s front page story about an actor ‘with a string of ex-lovers’ whose HIV diagnosis has left Hollywood ‘gripped with fear’.
The publication declines to name the star, but says his ‘list of exes includes an award-winning actress, a religious movie star, a top Hollywood personality with a controversial past, a TV star, a media personality and a glamour model.’
The paper cites a source who claims the actor has known he is HIV positive ‘for a number of years’ and that his lawyers are ‘bracing for the threat of potential action’.
‘The reality is that if he’s knowingly put women at risk then that’s disgusting and it’s only a matter of time before that becomes public,’ their source claims. ‘He’s distraught about the possibility of the illness becoming a defining quality of his career.’
Shaun Griffin, executive director of external affairs at HIV and AIDS awareness charity the Terrance Higgins Trust, has lead the charge in criticizing the newspaper.
He told The Independent: ‘The fact is that for anyone diagnosed with HIV, they are given treatment that reduces the amount of HIV virus to an “undetectable” amount and this means HIV cannot be passed on.’
He added: ‘The fact is that it is utterly wrong to disclose an individual’s HIV status without their permission – though we are provided with enough information here to effectively identify them. It is attitudes like these that perpetuate HIV stigma.’
Others on Twitter agreed with Griffin.
— Hockeyfrilla (@Hockeyfrilla) November 11, 2015
— Jake (@JakeHob) November 11, 2015
— Joel Lambert (@Joellambert) November 11, 2015
— Jack Strange ▲ (@JackSamStrange) November 10, 2015
— Daniel Owen (@danieljowen) November 11, 2015