Former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas disclosed that he is HIV-positive, stating that around the illness he wishes to “break the stigma.”
He said he wanted to demonstrate how HIV-positive people are misrepresented as “walking around with walking sticks near death.”
He also spoke of “shame” and “fear” of maintaining secret about his illness.
The skipper of the ex-British and Irish Lions is due to discuss his diagnosis on Wednesday in a BBC Wales documentary.
The 45-year-old claims he feels like dying at his lowest stage in 2018.
Public information campaigns in the 1980s have left a legacy of misunderstanding, he says, warning individuals to take precautions against Aids.
Advances in medicine now enable healthy life for individuals who are HIV-positive. The virus can not be transmitted with efficient therapy.
Apart from waking up at 06:00 to getting a single pill every day and visiting the hospital every six months for blood testing, the condition has little effect on Thomas ‘ daily lives.
On the contrary, on Sunday, he takes part in an Ironman challenge that involved him learning to swim, which was a way for Thomas to demonstrate his physical and mental power.
“When I first discovered out I was going to have to live with HIV, it was immediately the first thing I believedwas: I was going to die,” he said.
“It’s not like I blame people that I don’t know that.
“This is a topic that people don’t speak about because of the 80s situations because it’s the only data they have.” He added: “The overriding question that everyone said to me–the first issue that everyone tells me when I tell them that I’m living with HIV–is’ Will you be OK?And the issue to ask is really sympathetic. But, this is meant to be the most beautiful way possible, it’s a really uneducated question. “Image copyright Christian Liewig / Corbis / Getty Images Image caption Gareth Thomas (right) is tackled by Sebastien Chabal of France during a 2007 game in Cardiff, Thomas said revealing that he was living with HIV was similar to coming out as gay in 2009 because of” the fear, the hiding, the secrecy, the unknown.
“But when it came to my sexuality, I believe it just seemed like there was more empathy and comprehension because you had more knowledge, because you could turn on the telly, and you could see LGBT representation on most platforms.” Who is Gareth Thomas? A timeline: July 25, 1974: born in Sarn near Bridgend in 1994: made his debut at home town club Bridgend and went on to play for Cardiff Blues (twice), Celtic Warriors and Toulouse in 1995: made his debut in Wales and went on to win 100 caps, scoring 40 trials and also appearing in three British Lions Tests.
2005: Winning the 2005 Heineken Cup with Toulouse and Wales captains in 27 years to their first grand slam.
2007: Wins the final World Cup cap for Wales.
2009: Reveals that he’s gay, saying “What I choose to do when I close the door at home doesn’t have anything to do with what I did in rugby.”
2010: Thomas switches rugby league codes.
2011: Announces his retirement, last appearing in Wrexham in July for Crusaders.
Image copyright CARL COURT / Getty Images Image caption Presenting a shirt for then Prime Minister David Cameron at a 2012 sporting gathering to address homophobia and transphobia in sport: his post-rugby career involves Celebrity Big Brother, pantomime roles, frequent work as a rugby pundit and campaigning against homophobia in sport. Actor Mickey Rourke from Hollywood is engaged in discussions to play him in a movie.
2014: Publishes Proud’s autobiography, which wins the year’s sports book.
2015: In a stage play, Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage tells his life tale.
2018: After being attacked and victim of a hate crime in Cardiff, he posts a video on Twitter. When he conquered his fear of heights with the fire service, he took part in Sport Relief.
Thomas lives with his 56-year-old husband Stephen close Bridgend. In 2016, they got married.
Stephen speaks in the documentary about how the public will respond to the announcement made by Gareth and how the couple will be handled.
“I’ll have to bring it on board and handle it,” he tells.
“When I come to it, I’m going to cross it.” Stephen, who doesn’t have HIV, added: “I believe it will teach so many individuals what HIV is.
“I’ve been one of the ignorant ones, I’m going to be frank, like so many people.” “I believe he’s doing a wonderful thing. He shows you can have HIV but you can still do the sport and the Ironman for the sake of goodness. “Getty When you have a secret that other individuals know about it, it makes you susceptible to them. And I just felt like I had no control over my own life. The documentary demonstrates Thomas ‘ anxiety and after a tabloid newspaper found out about his HIV status, he had to consult legal officials. It resulted reporters to go to the home of their relatives.
“I required to get my life under control,” he said.
“When you have a secret about which other individuals know you’re really susceptible to them. And I just felt like I didn’t have control over my own lives. “Thomas said he felt the strongest he ever had in his life at the moment.
“I had a crazy ride rollercoaster. My parents are telling me’ Jesus Christ.’ What’s next to come with you?’.
“I had the entire emotional challenge of exposing my sexuality and confronting that sporting stereotype.
“And then I thought’ I’m facing this,’ which has so many similarities.” Another former Wales international amateur triathlete and actress Samantha Womack transformed into Shane Williams in the film he confides.
He explained in an interview with BBC Wales: “I try to take control of my life, but I don’t try to break the stigma and educate for myself. Because it’s egotistical.
Image copyright nito100/Getty Images Image caption Drug PrEP is used as part of HIV prevention What is HIV? “I’m attempting to teach and break the stigma for everyone that involves me in that everyone.”
HIV is human immunodeficiency virus–immunodeficiency is the virus ‘ weakening of the immune system.
For many decades, it was passed on among humans but was only identified in the early 1980s.
If left untreated, HIV infection is transmitted through a number of stages, leading to late-stage HIV or AIDS HIV can be transmitted through blood or semen, but not spitting, sneezing, coughing, kissing or general social contact.
There is now strong evidence to say, with confidence, that the virus can not be passed on to individuals on efficient HIV treatment.
There are an estimated 94,100 individuals residing with HIV in the UK, about 2,200 in Wales; in 2018, 4,484 individuals were diagnosed, a decrease of 28% since 2015.
As a consequence of combination prevention–condom use, HIV prevention drug pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), extended HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy–the diagnosis of homosexual and bisexual males has fallen by 39 percent since 2015 Sources: Terrence Higgins Trust and Public Health England HIV drug’ should be on the NHS ‘ The HIV-positive person who prevented thousands of people from having the Ia virus Gareth is proof that a HIV diagnosis should not stop you from doing anything you want to do–whatever it is. “I hope Gareth will transform the attitudes towards HIV that were all too often stuck in the 1980s by speaking publicly about this.
“We’ve produced enormous medical progress in the battle against HIV, which means individuals living with HIV like Gareth are living healthy life for a long time now.
“We can also say without a doubt that the virus can not be passed on to those people and to effective HIV treatment. That’s precisely what Gareth intends to get out there to challenge the stigma that still surrounds this virus.