A parliamentary candidate standing in this year's election has told how he purposely contracted HIV after developing suicidal feelings following years of homophobic bullying.
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Vauxhall in south London, said he decided to speak out about his experience of bullying, mental ill health and low self-esteem in the hope of helping others who are facing similar problems.
The 36-year-old experienced both physical and mental bullying at school for being gay, he told BuzzFeed, and spiralled into a cycle of drugs, depression and suicide attempts, before finally deciding that being infected with HIV might be "one way" to die.
Hyyrylainen-Trett is thought to be the first candidate to speak openly about being HIV positive
Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett, who is originally from Norwich and is thought to be the first parliamentary candidate to openly speak about being HIV positive, told the website: "I thought, 'What's another way of doing it?' Even though I knew people were surviving from HIV, I thought, 'Perhaps if I can make myself so ill, get the worst strain possible, that would be one way of getting rid of myself'."
But he added: "I didn't really want HIV ... I wanted annihilation of me."
The LGBT activist said he feels he owes it to people in similar situations to speak about the issues.
He has called for drugs to become "a health issue not a criminal one", and said the mental health and wellbeing of gay people must be addressed.
Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett, who married his partner last weekend, also said same-sex education should be compulsory in all schools from a young age.
Yusef Azad, director of policy and campaigns manager at NAT (National AIDS Trust), said: "Adrian's story shows the damage homophobic bullying and mental health issues can have on gay men's health. We need immediate action on homophobia - in society and especially in schools.
"Shockingly, NAT research found over half of young gay or bi men are bullied at school. This is not acceptable. Gay men also need appropriate mental health support as well as services which understand sexualised drug-taking.
"Only then we will start to reduce the numbers of gay men getting HIV every day in the UK. We applaud Adrian speaking out so honestly and publicly on these vital issues."
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