Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has revealed that he is HIV positive in the House of Commons.
The Brighton Kemptown MP revealed his medical status on Thursday in a bid to break the stigma surrounding HIV and Aids.
Russell-Moyle also called on the government to do more to ensure the HIV-prevention drug PrEP is available on the NHS.
Jeremy Corbyn has praised the “enormous courage” shown by the 32-year-old.
“The disease is still deeply misunderstood,” said Russell-Moyle, leading a debate ahead of World Aids Day on Saturday.
“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.”
The MP, who was previously vice president of the European Youth Forum, added: “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.”
Russell-Moyle said he was diagnosed ten years ago, when he was just 22.
He said: “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.”
The life-saving HIV prevention drug PrEP is currently being trialled by NHS England.
He said: “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.”
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.”
Ian Green, chief executive officer of the charity the Terrence Higgins Trust CEO, thanked Russell-Moyle for speaking out.
He 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.”