Su Pollard says more needs to be done to encourage young gay men to use condoms and that equal marriage is a key step towards ending stigma and discrimination.

The Hi-De-Hi star has spoken to PinkNews.co.uk about her involvement in this week’s National AIDS Trust’s Spring Awakening, which aims to raise vital funds for the charity.

Su is co-hosting the event with pantomime legend Christopher Biggins on Thursday 30 May at Haberdashers’ Hall, opposite St Bartholomew’s Hospital in Smithfield, east London.

“I think NAT is a fantastic charity that does really great work and I try to support them however I can”, Su told PinkNews.co.uk. “In fact last year they asked me to create a piece of art for their 25th anniversary art auction, but I sadly had to let that one pass as I can’t draw for toffee! So I was delighted at the chance to take part in Spring Awakening this year alongside the lovely Christopher Biggins. I’m sure we will have a real blast together!”

Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV; accounting for almost half of all new cases in 2011.

Su believes the safer sex message is not getting through and that more needs to be done to encourage young gay men to use condoms.

“I wouldn’t say that the gay community has stopped listening, I think it’s more that the condom message is simply not out there enough, it’s not something that tends to be overly spoken about, and I think that’s the problem. It’s so important to get the safer sex message out there, as well as information about HIV. I think it’s particularly important for young gay men because sex and relationships in schools is often poor and we don’t talk enough about same-sex relationships to kids growing up.”

Su agrees with the NAT’s view that legalising equal marriage in the UK is “an important step to challenging the homophobia which fuels the UK’s HIV epidemic”.

However, she is not certain if it will make gay men more monogamous. “Well I’m not sure about monogamy but it is so important for equality,” before adding: “Everybody should be allowed to marry the person they love, it’s a spiritual commitment that, I believe, makes a relationship stronger. Also, anything that helps reduce stigma and discrimination against gay men can only be a good thing for sexual health, and we know that levels of HIV have been increasing amongst gay men in recent years.”