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'Emmerdale' Star Charlie Hardwick Says 'HIV Can Happen To Anyone' As Character Val Pollard Is Diagnosed

19/02/2014 13:18 GMT | Updated 19/02/2014 13:59 GMT

'Emmerdale' actress Charlie Hardwick has spoken out about her character Val Pollard's HIV diagnosis, saying, "it can happen to anyone."

The 53-year-old soap star is keen to break down the stigma around the disease after a viewer told her not to come near them because they might "catch" HIV.

charlie hardwick

Charlie Hardwick

Speaking to The Mirror, Charlie said she told the man: "‘You don’t get HIV from touching somebody – you get it from having unprotected sex and that’s not going to happen is it, kiddo?’ and he meekly said no.”

In a controversial storyline, Charlie’s character was diagnosed with HIV after a fling in Portugal.

"I hope they will see it could happen to anybody. Val is quite funny and we don’t want her to stop being funny. But funny people get HIV as well," she told the paper.

She added, “The test will be what impact will it have on her marriage and her friendships. We don’t know how it will play out.

"I hope people will have sympathy with Val and have a little think about themselves and their sexual health.”

Charlie first joined 'Emmerdale' in 2004. This is set to be one of her biggest storylines to date and will bring HIV back into soap viewers' minds.

The disease was last covered substantially in Mark Fowler's AIDs storyline in 'EastEnders' back in 2004.

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