Openly-gay Welsh Rugby legend, Gareth Thomas intends to help break HIV stigma after confirming that he is HIV positive.
The 45-year old former rugby player shares his status for the first time publicly in an interview with Sunday Mirror, where he described the moment he found out.
“I went for a routine sexual health test at a private clinic in Cardiff. I didn’t feel ill and thought everything was going to be fine.
“When the doctor said those words … I immediately thought I was going to die. I felt like an express train was hitting me at 300 miles per hour. Then I was thinking ‘how long have I got left?’”
Thomas who is often referred to in rugby circles by his nickname “Alfie”, publicly came-out in 2009, confirmed that he had known about his status for “years,” and had been keeping it a secret from the public.
“I’ve been living with this secret for years. I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll,” he explained.
“I was in a dark place, feeling suicidal. I thought about driving off a cliff. To me, wanting to die was just a natural thought and felt like the easier way out, but you have to confront things.”
The 100 test-Match legend also talked about treatment, explaining that his condition is managed by simply taking one pill a day, a pill that contains four antiretroviral medications, keeping the virus controlled, undetectable, and unable to be passed on.
Thomas also confirmed that his husband Stephen, who he met after his diagnosis does not have the virus, and will speak further about living with HIV in an upcoming documentary by the BBC.
Prince William and Kate Middleton have praised Gareth Thomas as ‘courageous’ after he revealed he was living with HIV.
William, through his and Kate’s Kensington Palace Twitter account, backed the 45-year-old.
He wrote: “Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W”.
The ‘W’ means it was written by the dad-of-three himself.
Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W https://t.co/WXGof2N3j8
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 15, 2019