Manchester Police Commissioner: ‘HIV does not discriminate and neither should society’

Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd, says agencies and communities need to support those living with HIV and encourage them to come forward if they have been a victim of hate crime or discrimination.

A survey released by Terrence Higgins Trust shows 83% of people living with HIV feel unable to disclose their HIV status because of fears about people’s negative reactions.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s World AIDS Day, Mr Lloyd said: “As a society we have come on leaps and bounds in how we treat people living with HIV, but sadly many still suffer from stigma and discrimination. This is unacceptable – it has no place in our communities and causes untold misery to those who are already going through a difficult time. This virus does not discriminate and neither should society.”

The former Labour MP for Manchester Central added: “All agencies, including local authorities, police and NHS, have a responsibility to support and help those living with HIV – and challenge discrimination. I would urge anyone living with HIV who has been a victim of a hate crime to come forward and report it – and have the confidence you will be listened to and that action will be taken.”

Mr Lloyd and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle are attending the candlelit procession and vigil at Sackville Gardens in Manchester at 6.15pm on Sunday 1 December.

Figures released last week by Public Health England showed HIV infections among gay and bisexual men at a record high.

3,250 gay and bisexual men were diagnosed with HIV in 2012, the highest annual figure since the start of the epidemic.