Gareth Thomas finishes 'toughest Ironman in the world' hours after revealing HIV Positive status

Former British and Irish Lions captain Gareth Thomas is believed to be the first UK sportsman to go public about HIV diagnosis.

Gareth Thomas with his husband at the finish line hours after revealing he is HIV Positive

Hours after revealing he is HIV Positive, Rugby star Gareth Thomas ran into the arms of his husband’s after completing the Ironman Triathlon in Tenby, Wales, which is known as the “toughest Ironman in the world”.

Thomas said he was determined to complete the Ironman event to help combat the stigma some still attach to HIV.

Gareth Thomas, who is the former captain of the Welsh rugby team, spoke about breaking the stigma surrounding HIV in a video he posted online on Saturday, September 14.

Less than 24 hours after he released the video, Thomas completed the 140-mile Ironman Triathlon on Sunday, September 15.

Crowds cheered him on around the significant swim, bike ride and road race which he finished in just over 12 hours.

As he reached the finish line, the 45 year-old Ironman ran into the arms of his husband, Stephen, after completing the race.

Thomas, who is a former British and Irish Lions captain, came out as gay in 2009, is believed to be the first UK sportsman to go public about being HIV Positive.

In a video posted on his Twitter page, he said: “I am living with HIV.

“Now you have that information that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak. Even though I have been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma around this subject.

“And that begins today when I take on the toughest Ironman in the world in Tenby, and I push myself physically to the limit.”

Thomas said he decided to go public about living with HIV after being “put through hell” by blackmailers who threatened to expose his secret.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Thomas 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.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBT+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBT+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBT+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.