A British MP has told the UK’s House of Commons that he is HIV-positive in a bid to tackle stigma around the disease ahead of the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day on Saturday.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle told his fellow MPs, “Next year, I’ll be marking an anniversary of my own, 10 years since I became HIV positive.
“It’s been a long journey, from the fear to acceptance and from today’s advocacy, knowing my treatment keeps me healthy and that it protects any partner I have.
Russell-Moyle said he was “undetectable” which means because he takes medication, he can’t transmit HIV to another partner.
“I can’t transmit HIV to my sexual partner. I have a perfectly healthy life, so my announcement here today should go totally unnoticed.
“I wanted to be able to stand here in this place and say to those that are living with HIV, that their status does not define them, that we can be whoever we want to be.
“To those who haven’t been tested, maybe because of fear, I say to you; it is better to live in knowledge than die in fear.”
He said Britain was “on the cusp of eradicating new HIV transmissions,” but warned that public health cuts and the limited roll-out of preventative medication PrEP could hamper progress.
His speech was praised by HIV charities, including the Terrence Higgins Trust, who thanked Lloyd for “using his platform to help us work toward zero HIV stigma and zero HIV transmissions in the UK.”
December 1 is globally recognised as World AIDS Day, and this year marks its 30th anniversary as a significant event for the LGBTIQ community.
It’s a day to remember those who lost their lives to the AIDS pandemic over the years, as well as celebrate medical advancements in the fight against HIV and support those living with HIV and fight stigma and discrimination.
Special events have been held across the state to recognise this year’s World AIDS Day and candlelight vigils will be held in Brisbane and Cairns on Saturday night to remember all those we have loved and lost since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.