Lloyd Russell-Moyle - UK Politics

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Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, speaking in the House of Commons, said: “Next year I’ll be marking an anniversary of my own: 10 years since I became HIV positive.

“It’s been a long journey – from the fear to acceptance and from today advocacy, knowing my treatment keeps me healthy and that it protects any partner I have.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was present in the chamber as Mr Russell-Moyle made his speech.

With Labour colleagues surrounding him, Mr Russell-Moyle added: “I finally wanted to be able to stand in this place and tell all those out there living with HIV, that their status does not define them.

“We can be whoever we want to be and to those who haven’t been tested, maybe because out of fear, I say it is better to live in knowledge than die in fear.”

He added: “I am an HIV-positive man, but because I’ve been taking the right medication for several years, I am what the NHS calls HIV-positive ‘undetectable’.

“That means not only that you cannot detect HIV in my system, so I don’t get sick, it also means I can’t transmit HIV to someone else.

“So as the virus lays undetectable and dormant in my body, my medication ensures that the virus doesn’t reactivate, doesn’t progress and can’t be passed on. That’s why the NHS says: Undetectable equals untransmittable.”

Mr Russell-Moyle went on: “It is safer to have sex with someone who is HIV positive undetectable than it is to have sex with someone who doesn’t know their status, because undetectable equals untransmittable.

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“Understanding that I was unable to transmit my HIV sexually has been life-changing. I went from thinking that I would never be able to have an HIV-negative partner or that if I had sex with someone I could pass it on – to the knowledge that I could live a normal life, and that any partner I have is totally protected.

“So I can’t transmit HIV to a sexual partner and I live a perfectly healthy life so my announcement today should pass by unnoticed.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn intervened in the debate to praise Mr Russell-Moyle’s “brilliant and historic speech”.

He said said: “I think he’s making an absolutely brilliant and historic speech and I’m very grateful that he mentioned my good friend Chris Smith who very bravely told the world in 1984 that he was gay and proud of it, and we’re proud of Chris for doing that.

“I’m also very pleased that he’s brought up the international context of this. The international context where there is appalling levels of prejudiced and abuse against HIV-positive people and against the LGBT community in many countries around the world.

“We just need to send a message out from this House of Commons: this country has changed its attitudes, we have done a great deal medically to help people. We need to ensure that the rest of the world understands that we can do the same in every country.”

He added: “We have to close our minds to prejudice and open our minds up to human rights and justice.”

– HS

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