He explained how he had been living with HIV for almost 10 years and talked about his experience when he was first diagnosed with the condition. The MP has until this point kept his diagnosis very private, but with a number of key issues around the HIV debate currently being discussed in both parliament and the news he thought the time was right.
The MP used his speech to call for the £700 million cuts to public health to be stopped in the hope that it will allow more people access to the revolutionary PrEP drug. The drug effectively prevents high risk individuals from catching HIV if they take it regularly and before they have sex. A trial of the drug which has so far being deemed a success by health officials is due to end, however there is no promise that the medication will be made available to more people.
“We are genuinely on the cusp of eradicating new HIV diagnosis in the UK,” he said. “But we are at a fork in a road and currently I worry that we might be starting to head in the wrong direction with £700 million of cuts to public health, we’re not investing in the universal PrEP roll out. So I think it is important for me politically to speak out”
Finally, ahead of World AIDs Day on 1 December, the Brighton MP lead an inspirational call for all people living with HIV to not be ashamed. He said: “I wanted to say to those living with HIV that there status does not define them. We can be whoever we want to be. And to those who have not been tested, maybe out of fear, I say to you it is better to live in knowledge that to die in fear.”
There are a wide range of ways to be tested for HIV in the UK, including at your local sexual health clinic or by opting for a private HIV testing option like those available from Your Sexual Health. Our service allows you to book an appointment at one of our nationwide clinics before arriving to deposit your sample. We also offer home testing and home visits testing options. Visit our HIV page to book your test today.