Thursday, 17 January, 2019

British MP reveals he is HIV positive

Nkosi-Bhekisisa in 2000. He died a year later Nkosi-Bhekisisa in 2000. He died a year later
Johnnie Parks | 01 December, 2018, 17:40

A British MP has become the first sitting member to disclose he is HIV positive to the United Kingdom parliament.

"We have the ability to end new HIV transmissions as well as end stigma and discrimination, not only here, but globally, and I hope we can all make that our mission", he told fellow lawmakers, who gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech, something hardly ever seen in parliament.

He's the only current Member of Parliament to reveal he has the virus.

"Next year I'll be marking an anniversary of my own: 10 years since I became HIV positive", Mr Russell-Moyle said.

The MP added: "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".

"It has been a long journey from the fear of acceptance and today hopefully advocacy, knowing that my treatment keeps me healthy and protects any partner I may have".

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"[I hope] that my story might encourage others to get tested and ultimately begin their treatment earlier on".

In 2005, former Labour cabinet minister Chris Smith, the first openly gay British MP, revealed he had been HIV positive for 17 years.

One of those was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who praised Mr Russell-Moyle for making a "brilliant and historic speech". "You walk out feeling totally numb, with a million things going through your mind, and at the same time a sense of absolute nothingness".

Some 500 people in Ireland are diagnosed with HIV every year. And I said, 'Actually, I don't think I'm ready to do this yet'.

Khumalo also says the country's health care system needs to improve to tackle HIV/Aids.

Public Health England (PHE) recorded a drastic fall in new diagnoses of HIV in the United Kingdom, with just 4,363 new cases diagnosed in 2017. The Cayman Islands Red Cross also offers education on sex, sexuality, HIV testing and counselling, as well as condom distribution.

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