US: Gay politician announces he’s HIV positive and resigns to run HIV charity

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A Democratic Party politician in Massachusetts is stepping down from office in order to become the executive director of an HIV organisation in the state.

Carl Sciortino announced his resignation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives on Tuesday and also revealed publicly that he’s HIV positive.

The 35-year-old leaves office on 4 April and will become the new executive director of Massachusetts’ AIDS Action Committee.

“As a gay man living with HIV, I am honoured to lead one of the country’s oldest and most effective organisations in the battle against this disease which has raged on over 30 years,” said Mr Sciortino in a statement.

“My goal for AIDS Action in the years ahead is simple: continue the work that has resulted in lowering the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Massachusetts; provide the multitude of services needed to keep those living with HIV/AIDS connected with health care providers; and continue the public conversation about HIV needed to reduce the stigma that is still so closely associated with this disease.”

Mr Sciortino will be the first person living with HIV to lead AIDS Action since it was founded in 1982.

The organisation provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with HIV.

During nine years in office, Mr Sciortino championed social justice issues including the right of same-sex couples to marry; banning discrimination against transgender people; expanding access to health care; and increasing resources for anti-poverty programmes.