Words: Steve Brown
Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has revealed he is HIV-positive.
The politician was elected to represent the Brighton Kemptown constituency in the 2017 general election and today (November 29) he publicly revealed he has been living with HIV for 10 years and called for others to get tested ahead of HIV and World Aids Day this Saturday (December 1).
He said: “ This Saturday 1st December will mark the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS day, and next year it will be ten years since I became HIV positive.
“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.
“The disease is still deeply misunderstood. 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.”