World

Support for Gareth Thomas as ex-Wales captain reveals he has HIV

Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with the virus, and has revealed that he was driven to suicidal thoughts as a result of his diagnosis.

He is taking part in an Ironman challenge on Sunday, which has involved him learning to swim,

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called him a “role model” and referee Nigel Owens said Thomas was “brave”.

Ian Green, chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust HIV charity, said Thomas’s diagnosis may help change public attitudes.

I’m very proud to call Gareth Thomas a friend. Gareth is proof that an HIV diagnosis shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you want to do – whatever that is.

I hope that by speaking publicly about this Gareth will transform attitudes towards HIV that are all too often stuck in the 1980s.

– IAN GREEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT THE TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST

Mr Green said improving treatment “means that people living with HIV like Gareth now live long healthy lives”.

Mr Green said that Thomas blazed a trail by being the first rugby player to come out as gay and “has done so much to encourage inclusion and diversity within the sport”.

This is exactly the kind of information Gareth wants to get out there to challenge the stigma that still surrounds this virus.

Now he is doing that once again with HIV and taking on the challenge of a lifetime in Ironman Wales to show that this virus doesn’t need to be a barrier when you’re diagnosed and accessing treatment.

– IAN GREEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT THE TERRENCE HIGGINS TRUST

Mr Corbyn said: “Gareth Thomas has again shown enormous strength in declaring himself HIV positive.

“A role model challenging stigma and prejudice.”

Current Wales head coach, Warren Gatland sent Gareth Thomas his best wishes during his first news conference in Japan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.