Elton John among supporters for first HIV-positive Parliamentary Candidate
Sir Elton John and David Furnish are among those who have offered support to a Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate who revealed he is HIV-positive in an interview last night.
36-year-old Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett said in an interview with Buzzfeed News that he suffered years of bullying and two suicide attempts. He also discusses drug taking and unprotected sex, which led to his HIV diagnosis.
Now Buzzfeed reports that Sir Elton and Mr Furnish sent a message of support for Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett.
The couple said: “Elton John and David Furnish applaud Adrian Trett for his courage and bravery in publicly acknowledging his HIV+ status… He is a fine example that HIV-positive people live robust, happy and productive lives. We wish him all the best.”
Speaking to PinkNews today, the candidate said the reaction to his interview had been “overwhelming”.
He said: “The reaction to the interview and the issues I’ve raised has been absolutely fantastic. Not only from Lib Dem friends and colleagues, but cross-party, and across the spectrum.
“Obviously many of the policies that I believe help prevent my situation occurring are Lib Dem policies, such as same-sex education in all schools and from young ages and making drugs safe included.
“It is important that mental and physical health are treated the same – something else which fits in with my party’s policies.”
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust said: “Adrian has made a really brave decision in speaking so openly about his HIV status. More than 100,000 people live with HIV in the UK. They come from all walks of life. However, we know that many people may not feel able to speak openly about their experiences, for fear of judgement and discrimination. Anyone in the public eye who speaks out will help raise awareness and is in a position to challenge the stigma and misconceptions around HIV.
“We agree with Adrian that the best starting point to address this issue is compulsory sex and relationships education throughout the schools system. Young people leaving school should feel confident about who they are, and empowered to have healthier relationships, regardless of their sexuality. Politicians have the power to make this happen.”
She continued: “As Adrian points out in his interview, we also need appropriate services and support for people who are going through difficult phases in life. To have the best impact we need to break down the barriers between sexual health, mental health, substance misuse and physical health.”
Yusef Azad, Director of Policy and Campaigns Manager at NAT (National AIDS Trust), added: “Adrian’s story shows the damage homophobic bullying and mental health issues can have on gay men’s health. We need immediate action on homophobia – in society and especially in schools. Shockingly, NAT research found over half of young gay or bi men are bullied at school. This is not acceptable. Gay men also need appropriate mental health support as well as services which understand sexualised drug-taking. Only then we will start to reduce the numbers of gay men getting HIV every day in the UK. We applaud Adrian speaking out so honestly and publicly on these vital issues.”