A Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate has become the first to reveal he is HIV status in an interview in which he discusses mental health issues, drugs and sexual health.
36-year-old Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett said in an interview with Buzzfeed News that he suffered years of bullying and suicide attempts. He also discussed drug taking and unprotected sex, which led to his diagnosis.
Standing for Vauxhall, Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett said he was “looking for it”, when he had unprotected sex with men, and was almost certain which partner infected him with HIV.
In the interview, the candidate also says he overdosed on drugs five times, and appeared in a gay porn film.
Discussing mental health issues he has faced since his early teens, he 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?’”
He goes on to say that he was looking for an “annihilation of me” when he contracted the virus, and that he hoped it could end his torment, and that the 2004 diagnosis was a “consequence of bullying, mental ill health and low self-esteem”.
Now, standing in the seat currently held by Labour, Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett calls for better sex and relationship education (SRE), and education on drugs.
“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.”
On deciding to speak out now, he said he thought it “owed it” to the LGBT community.
A Lib Dem party spokesman told PinkNews: “This is a very brave step from Adrian. He has a lot of support in our party and we wish him all the best. He speaks on behalf of many people who will hopefully look to him as someone who has come through difficult times, and is now dedicating himself to helping others and standing up for his community.”
Mr Hyyrylainen-Trett married his partner last Saturday, on the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage becoming law in England and Wales.