Words: Steve Brown
Gareth Thomas says he is ‘living life to the maximum’ after revealing he is living with HIV, in an emotional interview.
The Welsh rugby star was forced to reveal his HIV status over the weekend after a tabloid newspaper threatened to publish it.
But following the news, Thomas – who came out as gay in 2009 – has received praise and support from the likes of Princes William and Harry, who dubbed him an ‘absolute legend’.
Now, the rugby star given his first public interview since revealing the news -- on This Morning today (September 17).
During the interview, Thomas opened up about the initial reaction to being diagnosed and said: “It was like a train hit me at 300mph.
“I had no knowledge of what living with HIV would be like apart from the adverts in the 80s with the tombstones and the death.
“That’s exactly what went through my mind the moment that I was told.”
Thomas – who has promised to help end stigma around HIV – also admitted how people look and treat you differently and said: “When people find out, they look at you and treat you differently.
“I didn’t want my brother to potentially be afraid of me cuddling my niece, for wanting to hold people.”
Towards the end of the interview, Thomas became visibly emotional and while fighting back tears, he revealed he now knows that HIV ‘is not connected to death, it’s connected to life, and living with, and that is what I’m doing to the maximum.
“I’m living life to the maximum.”