Manchester, UK Councillor Paul Fairweather revealed his HIV status to a crowd at the city's Pride celebrations, saying he hoped to end the stigma surrounding the disease.
Said Fairweather: "We have to beat the stigma and the nonsense surrounding this. We can never put pressure on anybody to reveal their status – it's an incredibly individual, personal thing. And
I cannot stand here tonight and talk about being HIV positive without
[mentioning] the love and support of my family, friends and colleagues.
Many of us have this love and support, but many of us don't. I
and many other HIV positive gay men have experienced rejection and even
hostility from within the gay community, as well as support.”
Fairweather later told the Manchester Evening News: "I made a planned and personal decision to make the announcement at the vigil and I have had an overwhelming response. I did it to challenge the stigma and the prejudice that still exists around this…I have the full support from my friends and family, but not everyone is so lucky. I
have heard stories from people who have come out and their friends and
family have abandoned them and some people have even lost their jobs.
So I did this for them…Since the speech I have received such fabulous feedback, it's been
overwhelming. I've had phone calls and texts from my friends
and family, and even people I don't know.”