Former Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas has hit out at a UK tabloid reporter who disclosed his HIV status to his parents before he did.
The former Wales captain, who came out as gay in 2009, took to Twitter last weekend to reveal he is living with HIV.
“I want to share my secret with you, because it’s mine to tell you. Not the evils that make my life hell, threatening to tell you before I do,” he said.
“Even though I’ve been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma around this subject.”
But Thomas slammed the journalist, who he did not name, for disclosing his private diagnosis to his parents before they had discussed it.
“That person came and took that moment away from me,” Thomas told the BBC.
“They love me, they love me whatever. [But] I can never have that time back to sit down with them.
“I can’t sit down and explain to them why their son is going to be okay and is going to live through this, and live a healthy, normal life.
“Can you imagine somebody coming to your door and saying something so personal and so intrusive to you about the person that you love and protect through anything.
“Can you imagine how that would feel? I can’t.
“All I can tell you is that I have the best parents on the planet. Because to this day they stand by me and believe in me, and they believe in what I’m doing now.”
“I can never have that moment back.”
A journalist told @gareththomas14 ‘s parents about his HIV status before he had. This is what it means to him.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) September 18, 2019
Prince Harry calls Gareth Thomas an ‘absolute legend’
Thomas, who came out in 2009, said the threats from the tabloids had forced him to go public with his HIV status.
He has given multiple interviews this week to encourage discussions about living with HIV.
Thomas told the Daily Mirror his HIV medication has reduced his viral load to undetectable levels, he said. This means he can’t pass the virus on.
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) September 14, 2019
Prince Harry took to the official Sussex Royal Instagram account to hail the former rugby star as an “absolute legend”.
“Gareth, you are an absolute legend!” he wrote.
“In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV.
“We should all be appalled by the way you were forced to speak your truth.
“It is yours and yours alone to share on your terms and I and millions stand with you.”
The rugby player also opened up about his journey living with HIV in a BBC documentary, Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me, screened this week.
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