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Attitude Game Changer Award: Gareth Thomas

The rugby star came out as HIV-positive last September

By Steve Brown

Gareth Thomas has been honoured with the Icon Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar.

The former Welsh rugby captain, who came out as gay a decade ago, found his personal life thrust back into the spotlight last month when he was forced to disclose his HIV status after being blackmailed by a British tabloid.

After announcing that he was healthy, happy and living with HIV in a public statement, leading HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust revealed they had seen a high number of visitors to their website as members of the public sought to educate themselves about the fact that being undetectable means the virus is untransmitable – proof, if any were needed, in the power of Gareth’s words.

Dubbed “courageous” and a “legend” by Prince William and Prince Harry, Gareth tells the Attitude Awards issue – available to download and to order globally now – that he has been “overwhelmed” by outpouring of public support.

“I feel so humbled and I am so grateful to everyone out there who has supported me”, Gareth says.

“My reasons for doing this were to help others, in terms of educating people and to help those living with HIV.

The 45-year-old, who helped produce a BBC documentary about the recent strides made in treating HIV to coincide with his announcement, continues: “If my announcement has helped with awareness of this, then it was worth it.

“I want others to feel proud of who they are and not be afraid.”

Read more about the winners from the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019, powered by Jaguar in the Attitude Awards issue, out now.

Buy now and take advantage of our best-ever subscription offers: 3 issues for £3 in print, 13 issues for £19.99 to download to any device.

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