MP for Brighton Lloyd Russell-Moyle has revealed he is HIV positive in an emotional speech in the Commons, and has received an outpouring of support.
Russell-Moyle is the second parliamentarian to announce that he's HIV positive, and he revealed the diagnoses in an attempt to tackle the stigma that's still associated with the disease.
Speaking to the Commons during an adjournment debate for HIV and World AIDS Day, he revealed he'd been HIV positive for over 10 years, and gained the prognosis at the age of 22.
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.
He then added that the disease is still deeply misunderstood, and that he hoped that by coming forwards, he could help defy the stigma that still surrounds the disease:
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.
Since his speech, there has been an outpouring of support on social media.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also showed his support for Russell-Moyle, issuing a statement saying:
Lloyd has shown enormous courage today.
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.
Lloyd’s bravery represents the very best of Labour. This World Aids Day I will be proud to wear the red ribbon in solidarity and respect.