Britain's first ever openly HIV-positive Parliamentary candidate has spoken publicly for the first time about his harrowing life story.
In an in-depth interview with Buzzfeed
, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, the Lib Dem candidate for Vauxhall, discussed how his crippling depression as a teenager led him on a self-destructive mission to become infected with HIV after he moved to London as a student.
Hyyrylainen-Trett, who actively supports the decriminalisation of drugs in the UK, admitted that after numerous failed suicide attempts, he decided to try and get infected with "the worst strain" of HIV in order to end his life.
"I was going from one person to another trying to find someone to love me. Sometimes I’d find older people who I thought might look after me, or protect me, knowing that mentally I could quite easily go down the drain. I ended up doing all this because I was so lonely and my self-esteem was so low," he explained.
He continued: "Even though I knew people were surviving from HIV, I thought ‘Perhaps if I can make myself so ill, get the worst strain possible, that would be one way of getting rid of myself’.”
“I didn’t really want HIV. I wanted annihilation of me.”
"On a couple of those the people I was with knew exactly what they were doing, they were wilfully overdosing me, hoping it would mess me up so much I would go and do something stupid, or so that I would pass out to an extent that I wouldn't have known what had happened.”
Despite his tragic start in life, Hyyrylainen-Trett, now 36 years old, has moved forward with his life and in 2014 he married his partner on the first anniversary of same-sex marriage in England.
“It is a special love you cannot put words to – he understands who I am and what I’ve been through," he added.
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, has praised Hyyrylainen-Trett for being so open about his struggles.
“Adrian has made a really brave decision in speaking so openly about his HIV status. More than 100,000 people live with HIV in the UK. They come from all walks of life. However, we know that many people may not feel able to speak openly about their experiences, for fear of judgement and discrimination. Anyone in the public eye who speaks out will help raise awareness and is in a position to challenge the stigma and misconceptions around HIV," she said.
“We agree with Adrian that the best starting point to address this issue is compulsory sex and relationships education throughout the schools system. Young people leaving school should feel confident about who they are, and empowered to have healthier relationships, regardless of their sexuality. Politicians have the power to make this happen.”
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