British Member of Parliament Lloyd Russel-Moyle revealed in a speech at the House of Commons that he is HIV Positive. The Labour party politician is the second MP to come out as HIV Positive after Chris Smith revealed his status in 2005.
Russel-Moyle stated that he chose to make the speech in order to tackle the stigma that surrounds HIV.
“I wanted to be able to stand here in this place and say to those who are living with HIV that their status does not define them.
“We can be whoever we want to be, and to those who have not been tested, maybe because of fear, I say to you: it is better to live in knowledge than to die in fear.”
His speech came in advance of World Aids Day, which is tomorrow December 1. This year’s theme is ‘Know Your Status’. Russel-Moyle said:
“Next year I will be marking an anniversary of my own – 10 years since I became HIV positive. It has been a long journey, from the fear of acceptance and today, hopefully, advocacy, knowing that my treatment keeps me healthy and protects any partner that I may have.”
He received support from his fellow politicians and his announcement was welcomed with a round of applause, which is typically not permitted in the Commons.
The leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn praised the MP for his speech:
“Lloyd has shown enormous courage today. I know the whole Labour party is proud of him.”
Corbyn also spoke about the need for advocacy in terms of tackling the stigma associated with HIV:
“We need to send a message out from the House of Commons: this country has changed its attitudes, we have done a great deal medically to help people, we need to ensure that the rest of the world understands that we can do the same for every other country in the world.
“We have to close our minds to prejudice and open our minds up to human rights and justice for people all across the globe.”
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