LGBTQ Heroes: Lloyd Russell-Moyle
It’s often personal moments of courage and honesty that can have the biggest impact.
Whatever your political persuasions, you have to respect the decision of UK politician Lloyd Russell-Moyle to use the occasion of World AIDS Day 2018 to reveal that he is living with HIV.
Obviously, there are lots of people around the world who are living with HIV, but Russell-Moyle is the first UK politician to disclose his status during a speech in the House of Commons, and only the second UK member of parliament to share publicly the information that he is HIV-positive.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle is a member of the Labour Party, and he represents the constituency of Brighton Kemptown. He’s a relatively new member of parliament, having been first elected in the general election of 2017.
“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…” said Russell-Moyle, noting that it was ten years since he had been diagnosed. “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.”
Russell-Moyle’s speech came in the wake of the latest data released by Public Health England that confirmed that the UK is ahead of the UNAIDS targets for tackling HIV. The available data demonstrates that Combination Prevention strategies are having a material impact on new infection rates, however there is continuing debate on how to make PrEP more widely available in the UK.
During his speech, Russell-Moyle urged the government to review cuts to sexual health budgets.
“We start to see really the tools in our hands to eliminate HIV, really start to reduce HIV infections…” said Russell-Moyle. “But at the same time, the government is starting to slash sexual health budgets.”
Russell-Moyle has received widespread support from across the political spectrum for sharing his personal story in order to advocate for one of the key issues facing the LGBTQ community.