Hollyoaks star Peter McPherson opens up about HIV diagnosis in emotional interview

Former Hollyoaks star Peter McPherson has opened up about his HIV+ diagnosis in a powerful new interview.

Fans of the streaming-first soap will recognise Peter from his recurring guest appearances over the last year as Gareth, a member of evil conversion therapist Carter Shepherd's so-called self-help group.

The actor sat down with Virgin Radio Pride this week to speak about living with HIV, sharing that he tested positive for the virus over 10 years ago.

The emotional discussion with radio host Graeme Smith included reflections on the various stages he's gone through with HIV, including that the virus is now undetectable in his blood.

Peter shared the heartache of telling his parents about his diagnosis, after his father accompanied him to take a rapid test.

peter mcpherson, hollyoaks
Peter as Gareth in HollyoaksLime Pictures

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"The first thing [my dad] said was, 'How long has he got left to live?'" the star recalled. "The lucky thing is that I was surrounded by medical professional people — the people who could explain, people who could tell him what was going to happen. They put him at ease.

"They were really, really great. Like, 'No, it doesn't, it's not like that anymore. You know, he's not going to die. He's going to live a long, healthy life.'"

Peter went on: "We went to the hospital straight after, did more tests there. And then when I got home, I had to break the news to my mum.

"So in one way, I'm really fortunate that my parents and my family have always known from day one. I've never had to keep a secret from them.

"They've always, you know, [been] supportive. Every time I get tested, like I got tested last week, got my results and I'm like, I'm still undetectable. My kidney and all this is, you know, great."

Peter, who was joined during the interview by his husband David Allwood, has been treated with the antiretroviral drug Delstrigo.

Sharing why it's important to speak about his life story, Peter told Virgin Radio: "It's how I am in my work as an actor. My thing is never to like hide behind a mask and a character.

"It's always to reveal and to be open and to be honest. And I've never got anything other than positivity back."

peter mcpherson, hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks streams first online via Channel 4 each weekday at 7.30pm. Episodes then air on E4 the following day, before getting their YouTube premiere a week after that.

Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.

Read more Hollyoaks spoilers on our dedicated homepage

Organisations including amFAR, Terrence Higgins Trust and the National Aids Trust (NAT) can provide further information on research, testing and treatment for both HIV and AIDS.

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