The first openly HIV-positive Parliamentary Candidate, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, revealed his status in an interview with BuzzFeed News this week.
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, 36, is a Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate running for election in Vauxhall, London. He revealed his HIV status in a wide-ranging interview with BuzzFeed’s Patrick Strudwick.
The interview touches on sexual health, drug use and mental health – including numerous attempted suicides. Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett talks about how he endured years of bullying over being gay, and how he attempted to “annihilate” himself through drug taking and unprotected sex which ultimately led to his HIV diagnosis. Something that he considers to personally be “a consequence of bullying, mental ill health and low self-esteem”.
Talking about the mental health issues he dealt with through-out his life the Liberal Democrat candidate said:
“If you don’t care about yourself any longer you then do things that will harm you and think in a way that puts you in danger. This is what mental ill-health does. I was thinking, ‘Who can I find who’s the most dangerous person to go to, who isn’t well, who could deliver that knockout blow?’”
“It all links together – making drugs a health issue not a criminal one so that people might talk about it and get help for it,” he said. “There is so much more we need to address: body image among gay men, hate crime, and mental health generally has never been recognised on a par with physical health.”
When Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett went to get tested for HIV, after experiencing flu-like symptoms, he took someone with him – a man he had been dating. “I had HIV” he told him, “OK, I’m going to go.” was the reply from the man, who then promptly left.
Many will be asking why this Parliamentary Candidate has decided to share these, incredibly personal, stories with the press. Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett commented that “There are enough people on the gay scene who are aware of the problems but there hasn’t been an open discussion at any level – political, governmental, or at a community level.” and that he “owed it” to the LGBT community.
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett will be standing for the London Vauxhall constituency, currently held by Labour’s Kate Hoey, in the General Election on Thursday May 7th 2015.
Link to the full BuzzFeed interview here