Third parliamentary candidate reveals he is HIV positive
A third British parliamentary candidate has revealed that he is HIV positive.
David Kirwan, the Green Party candidate today became the third electoral candidate in the UK to reveal that he is living with HIV.
He also became the first to announce that he was diagnosed with AIDS.
Speaking to Buzzfeed News, Mr Kirwan, the Green candidate for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, said he wanted to end the “secrecy and stigma” faced by those living with HIV.
“If had diabetes there wouldn’t be any reluctance to be open and people would be sympathetic,” Kirwan said.
“But you don’t get that from people about HIV. People try not to look shocked [when you tell them], but you can tell they are – you can see it in people’s eyes. We need to remove that and allow people to think it’s nothing to be scared of.”
He went on to express concern at apparent cuts to the HIV prevention budget.
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“It’s really short-sighted because if we cut back on education and prevention we’re going to get an increase in diagnoses, which is then going to cost far more in treatment,” he said.
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, commented: “David’s powerful story highlights the importance of early diagnosis. Just yesterday we saw the launch of the first HIV Self Test will enable people to test when and where they like, diagnosis within 15 minutes and a 99.7 per cent accuracy rate.
“Late diagnosis can lead to long-term health implications, which is why testing regularly for HIV is so important. Treatment can also mean people are less likely to pass the virus on unwittingly.
“Each time someone in public life talks about living with HIV it gives us the opportunity to raise awareness, challenge perceptions and stigma.”