Thursday 29 November 2018 / 3:34 PM Health / Jeremy Corbyn / LGBT

Lloyd Russell Moyle MP speaks in the Commons about being HIV positive

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP has an adjournment debate today for HIV and World AIDS day in the main chamber of the House of Commons.

He will use this debate to make public his status as HIV positive.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP 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.”

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Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“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.

“Thanks to activists and campaigners, from Act Up to parliamentarians like Lloyd and Chris Smith, stigma against people with HIV is gradually lessening. And people who are HIV Positive and have access to treatment can now be sure that they will remain healthy and that their partners are protected.

“But we must remain vigilant against prejudice, and we must fight for everyone to have access to effective treatment.

“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.”

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Ian Green, Terrence Higgins Trust CEO, said:

“We’re extremely grateful to Lloyd, and his decision to use his platform to help us work toward zero HIV stigma and zero HIV transmissions in the UK.

“It is so important for people living with HIV to be better represented across public and political spheres, and as a serving MP to be openly living with the virus, Lloyd is already impacting positive change.

“People diagnosed with HIV today can live long, healthy lives like anybody else, and Lloyd proves this. However, we still have lots to do before we can end HIV transmissions in the UK and combat the discrimination that many people living with the virus face.

“Lloyd is already contributing to this work and for this, we’d like to say a huge thank to you him. We’re extremely proud to call Lloyd a friend and look forward to continuing to work together to end new HIV infections and stigma and ensure everyone living with HIV in the UK is supported to thrive.”