Feature

Shedding the HIV stigma

The week's news at a glance.

London

A former British culture minister revealed this week that he has been HIV-positive for 17 years, including the time he was in Tony Blair’s Cabinet. Chris Smith, who became Britain’s first openly gay Cabinet member, in 1997, said he did not tell Blair of his diagnosis when he was appointed. He came forward now, he said, because he was inspired by the example of former South African president Nelson Mandela, who recently announced that his son had died of AIDS. “After that speech,” Smith said, “I thought that I could make a small difference if I went public myself, and help demystify this.” Smith resigned from the Cabinet in 2001 but is still a member of Parliament.

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