Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP

Lloyd Russell-Moyle: MP announces in Commons he is HIV positive

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Lloyd Russell-Moyle urged ministers to review cuts to sexual health budgets

An MP has revealed he is HIV positive during a House of Commons debate on public health.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, is the first MP to reveal his HIV status in the Commons and the second to disclose he is living with the condition.

He said he felt compelled to speak out about an issue which had affected him personally.

Mr Russell-Moyle urged ministers to review cuts to sexual health budgets.

He told the Commons that next year would mark 10 years since he became HIV positive.

Finding out he had the virus was a “real shock” but it was “not the end of the world, even though it might feel like that for a few seconds”, Mr Russell-Moyle said.

“It’s been a long journey, from the fear to acceptance, and from today advocacy, knowing my treatment keeps me healthy and that it protects any partner I have.”

He added: “I finally wanted to be able to stand in this place and tell all those out there living with HIV, that their status does not define them.

“We can be whoever we want to be and to those who haven’t been tested, maybe because out of fear, I say it is better to live in knowledge than die in fear.”

In 2005, Labour MP Chris Smith revealed to a newspaper he had been HIV positive for 17 years.

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Mr Russell-Moyle said he wanted to reassure other that people being HIV positive did not define them

Ian Green, chief executive of sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the MP had “done everybody a service”.

He said Mr Russell-Moyle’s announcement “does a lot to normalise HIV in the public’s mind” and would help tackle the stigma associated with the virus.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised the MP’s “brilliant and historic” speech.

He said: “I’m very grateful that he mentioned my good friend Chris Smith who very bravely told the world in 1984 that he was gay and proud of it, and we’re proud of Chris for doing that.”

During the debate, Mr Russell-Moyle spoke about the the prejudice and abuse faced by HIV-positive people and the LGBT community around the world.

Mr Corbyn said: “We just need to send a message out from this 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 in every country.”

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