St Albans HIV support group chief slams media over Charlie Sheen coverage


Former "Two and a Half Men" star Charlie Sheen, right, is interviewed by Matt Lauer, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 on NBC's "Today" in New York. In the interview, the 50-year-old Sheen said he tested positive four years ago for the virus that causes AIDS. (Peter Kramer/NBC via AP)

The head of an HIV support charity has described the media circus surrounding the revelation that Charlie Sheen is suffering from the virus as “absolutely atrocious”.

Iain Murtagh, who is the head of operations for the St Albans-based charity The Crescent, said that articles which appeared in parts of the media last week in the run up to the Hollywood star’s announcement had “done a great deal of damage”.

He said: “This is nobody’s business but his own. It’s like being back in the horrible times of the 80s.”

The Sun newspaper reported last week (11) that a ‘womanising actor’ with HIV had sent Hollywood into a ‘panic’. Sheen later appeared on American TV in order to put an end to the speculation.

The Crescent, which operates out of a site on Russell Avenue, St Albans, has been providing confidential testing and support for people worried about or living with HIV for 30 years.

But Iain says that the Sun’s sensationalist reporting will fuel the decades-old stigma around the disease and may, ultimately, cause more suffering.

He explained: “Most people are scared of testing; they’re scared of people finding out. But it’s a very simple procedure. We would encourage anybody to come and see us completely free and confidential. They can come and see us on the premises or take advantage of our postal service.

“If more people became tested it would normalise it and reduce the stigma around it - and save lives.”

Herts county council withdrew funding from the Crescent in 2011 - since which time it has been solely reliant on donations from the public. For more information on the Crescent, visit where you will also find the facility to donate.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Herts Advertiser. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Herts Advertiser