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British MP Announces He’s HIV Positive to ‘Defy the Stigma’

British Member of Parliament Lloyd Russell-Moyle announced Thursday that he is HIV positive in an effort to tackle the stigma still associated with the disease. Russell-Moyle, a member of the Labour party, said he revealed the diagnosis ahead of World Aids Day—December 1st—in order to bring attention to a disease that approximately 36.9 million people worldwide live with. “I hope that my coming out serves to defy the stigma around the disease.” Russell-Moyle said. “I hope that more people will understand that effective treatment keeps people who are HIV positive healthy, and it protects their partners.” He is now the second parliamentarian to reveal he is HIV positive. Chris Smith, a Blair-era Labour minister, became the UK’s first openly gay member of parliament in 1983, and announced he was HIV positive months before leaving parliament in 2005. “The disease is still deeply misunderstood... if treated, someone who is HIV positive, like myself, can expect to live a long and full life,” Russell-Moyle said.