Brighton MP comes out as HIV positive

Posted On 29 Nov 2018 at 5:45 pm

Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said today that he has lived with HIV for almost ten years.

The Labour MP was due to lead an adjournment debate today about HIV and World AIDS day in the main chamber of the House of Commons.

Before making his speech, Mr Russell-Moyle said: “My announcement today will come as a surprise for many across the country.

“I have been asked if I am worried about the public’s reaction, of whether my constituency will be supportive. Those people clearly do not know Brighton.

“It is a privilege to represent one of the most dynamic, forward-thinking and accepting communities in the country.

“My decision to make public this very private aspect of my life was because of the ground-breaking organisations in my constituency who moved me to do so.

“The pride they have in their work and their unique bravery is something which I looked to and was directly inspired by.

“We are leading in Brighton, not just nationally on HIV and AIDS research and treatment but internationally.

“The Sussex Beacon, Lunch Positive, the Martin Fisher Foundation are just a few examples of exceptional treatment and support offered to those in Brighton. We are an example for the rest of the country to follow.

“Coming out today with my status will be newsworthy but the recognition should go to the countless who have come before me to fight – and it has been a fight for many – this disease.

“We are where we are today because of giants in our community that have paved the way for where we are today. I could not be more proud to represent Brighton Kemptown, today more than ever.”

Lloyd Russell-Moyle

He added: “This Saturday (1 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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn 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.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Well done to Lloyd Russell-Moyle.

    Meanwhile, I have just come to the calm precincts of this site after reeling from the “readers’ comments” below the Argus’s item about it. I am in shock. The Argus publishes such comments as one from
    somebody who laments that in this case NHS treatment is effective. And more along those lines.

    We hear a great deal about the toubles faced by the local press across the country but, in the light of the Argus publishing such comments (as it also did about a recent suicide), there will be celebration across Hove and Brighton when it closes down.

    • Esther Reply

      It doesn’t read that way to me. Most comments at the Argus are supportive of LRM’s ‘coming out’ with HIV. Another bunch point to the opinion that he is a below-par MP, which is fair comment. A few question how much praise is due to his alleged “bravery” given that plenty of MPs – including Peter Kyle – are out as gay and Chris Smith was out as having AIDS decades ago. So, in fact, Moyles was keeping it secret for ten years whilst expecting at least dozens of people in Brighton NHS to keep silent too – which they must have done very professionally.
      Do you regard it as hate-speech for me to state the inconvenient truth that LMR must have probably indulged in irresponsible sex to have contracted HIV at a time when the risks of that were well known? He might cost the NHS £500,000 over his lifetime of disease management because of his own bad choices. Is someone who makes hugely bad choices for himself an ideal candidate for being an MP making huge choices for his constituents and his country? Can RLM be trusted to do his research and make rational decisions based on the factual evidence?

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    Sometimes a huge health burden can be a positive too.

    My renal failure & now-27 year old transplant anchored my life and forced a prioritising of wellbeing once just taken as effortlessly available.

    I wonder if Lloyd would have so intensively focussed or achieved as usefully without the discipline his HIV requires of him. And he is a useful politician of some note.

  3. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    I have looked again, and the Argus has published more hateful comments. Shocked beyond measure at this.

  4. Peter May Reply

    Lloyd is an absolutely smashing guy. A number of times he has helped me with some issues regarding my employment, and Lloyd couldn’t have been more helpful.

    I wrote him to offer thanks for all the help he has given me, and in return he sent me a t-shirt with a picture of his face on the front, and the phrase “Ace Number One Kid” written on the back.

    I think Lloyd is a very brave man, a smashing bloke, and I wish that we had more politicians like him.

    Thanks again Lloyd…

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