Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle makes history by winning re-election after going public about HIV status

Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the first person publicly known to be living with HIV to win election to the UK Parliament.

Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle is the first person publicly known to be living with HIV to win election to the UK Parliament.

The politician, who was first elected as MP for Brighton Kemptown in 2017, saw off a challenge from Conservative Joe Miller in the seat, receiving 25,033 votes to Miller’s 16,972.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle is first politician to win election after revealing HIV status

Russell-Moyle revealed in November 2018 that he is living with HIV.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle

He was only the second Parliamentarian to speak about being HIV-positive while sitting in the Commons after Chris Smith, now Lord Smith.

However, Smith did not run for re-election after speaking about his HIV status in 2005, making Russell-Moyle the first person openly living with HIV to win an election.

Labour MP helped bust HIV stigma by speaking about his status

Speaking in Parliament in 2018, he said: “The disease is still deeply misunderstood. Etched into much of the public’s memory as a death sentence, HIV conjures images of gravestones and a life marked by tragedy.

“The reality is that today, the prognosis is wildly different to what it was when it was bought to the public’s attention. If treated, someone who is HIV-positive, like myself, can expect to live a long and full life with little to no side effects from the drugs regime.”

He added: “I hope that my coming out serves to defy the stigma around the disease. I hope that more people will understand that effective treatment keeps people who are HIV-positive healthy, and it protects their partners. That my story might encourage others to get tested and ultimately begin their treatment earlier on.

“Those who have HIV or who have recently been diagnosed should know that they are free to pursue every aspect of public life without hindrance.”

Ian Green of Terrence Higgins Trust said at the time: “We’re extremely grateful to Lloyd, and his decision to use his platform to help us work toward zero HIV stigma and zero HIV transmissions in the UK.

“It is so important for people living with HIV to be better represented across public and political spheres, and as a serving MP to be openly living with the virus, Lloyd is already impacting positive change.”