Former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas has revealed he is HIV positive and has been secretly living with the virus for years – and hopes coming forward with his diagnosis can help break the stigma for others living with the virus.
The 45-year-old who retired from playing rugby in 2011 having won 100 international caps for Wales.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he said: “I’ve been living with this secret for years. I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll.
“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.”
He explained: “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 300mph.
“Then I was thinking ‘how long have I got left?”‘
Thomas who came out as gay in 2009 also confirmed that his husband Stephen, who he met after being diagnosed, does not have the virus.
Explaining his decision to tell his story on camera he said: ‘The reason I’m doing this is because, firstly, I want to remember what it’s like to live again. I want to remember what it’s like to feel free. And by doing that, I want to empower so many other people who are in exactly the same position as me – and probably ten times worse – to be able to feel free again. And to do that I have to, I have to educate myself. I have to be strong. I have to be, at the end of it, a completely different person to the person I am now.
According to Mail Online, the sportsman now takes one tablet containing four medications each day, and doctors have said his condition is under control to the point that it is considered ‘undetectable’ and cannot be passed on.