Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle revealed today (29 November) he’s living with HIV.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown. He is the only sitting MP to disclose his HIV status and the second ever in the UK.
‘This Saturday 1 December will mark the 30th anniversary of World AIDS day, and next year it will be ten years since I became HIV positive,’ he told the House of Commons.
‘I was 22 years old, and diagnosed early.
‘Since then, I have been on world-class treatment provided by the NHS – so I have not only survived, I’ve prospered, and any partner I have is safe and protected.
‘I am leading this debate today because we are in many ways at a juncture in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
‘We could be more vocal, more ambitious, more determined to eradicate the disease in the UK. Or, we could go in the direction of the Government, which is putting our hard fought progress at risk.
‘Their reluctance to make the HIV prevention drug PrEP available on the NHS is disgraceful.
‘We now know of cases of young men who have tried to gain access to PrEP, who have been turned away and who have subsequently contracted HIV. These men’s HIV statuses were entirely avoidable.
‘The Government must now act to prevent this from happening again,’ he said.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle: Let’s ‘defy the stigma’
He then continued: ‘Etched into much of the public’s memory as a death sentence, HIV conjures images of gravestones and a life marked by tragedy.
‘The reality is that today, the prognosis is wildly different to what it was when it was bought to the public’s attention.
‘If treated, someone who is HIV positive, like myself, can expect to live a long and full life with little to no side-effects from the drugs regime.
‘I hope that my coming out serves to defy the stigma around the disease.
‘I hope that more people will understand that effective treatment keeps people who are HIV positive healthy, and it protects their partners. That my story might encourage others to get tested and ultimately begin their treatment earlier on.
‘Those who have HIV or who have recently been diagnosed should know that they are free to pursue every aspect of public life without hindrance,’ Lloyd Russell-Moyle said.
Jeremy Corbyn responds
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to Russell-Moyle’s revelation.
‘Lloyd has shown enormous courage today, Corbyn said in a press release. ‘I know the whole Labour Party is proud of him.
‘His dignity and hope will inspire people across the country and around the world – those with HIV, and also those of us who will always stand together with them.
‘But we must remain vigilant against prejudice, and we must fight for everyone to have access to effective treatment,’ Corbyn then said.
Ian Green is the CEO of HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust.
‘We’re extremely grateful to Lloyd, and his decision to use his platform to help us work toward zero HIV stigma and zero HIV transmissions in the UK,’ he said in a statement.
‘It is so important for people living with HIV to be better represented across public and political spheres, and as a serving MP to be openly living with the virus, Lloyd is already impacting positive change,’ he said.