Those living with HIV who have no detectable levels of the virus will now be recognised as fully fit for all service in the UK Armed Forces.

The changes will apply to those already working in the military, as well as those wishing to join.

The policy change, which came into effect on 21 June, means that having HIV is no longer a barrier for those wishing to serve.

Personal medical supplies will be given to HIV-positive personnel to last throughout their deployment.

In the event this is lost or damaged, the same process used for other medication is available to replace it.

“From today I can be considered fully fit by the Royal Navy for the first time since I told them about my HIV diagnosis,” said Lieutenant Commander Oli Brown. “Being labelled as limited deployable made me question myself and doubt my capability – it took a toll on my mental health. The biggest thing about this change is knowing that no-one else will feel how I did.”

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said that “this historic rule change shows the truly remarkable progress that’s been made” but called on remaining barriers to be lifted.

He continued: “It’s crucial it is now properly implemented to see the real-life impact of this momentous change for both existing serving personnel and those wishing to join.

“We also need to see an end to the final barrier in place which stops military aircrew and air traffic controllers taking HIV prevention pill PrEP to protect themselves against the virus.

“This must be reviewed and implemented as soon as possible.”

A policy of allowing these staff members to take Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) will hopefully be ratified in July after being endorsed in March 2020.

Today’s changes come after the Armed Forces announced last year that it would start allowing those taking PrEP to join the military.