Gareth Thomas settles lawsuit with former partner who accused him of "deceptively transmitting HIV"

Although the rugby legend maintains that the allegations are "meritless", he says that the settlement is a "hugely positive outcome".

Portrait of Gareth Thomas smiling.
Image: David Cameron and Gareth Thomas.jpg: ukhomeoffice derivative work: User:Tsange, CC BY 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

Gay rugby legend Gareth Thomas has settled a lawsuit with a former partner who accused him of hiding his HIV status and knowingly transmitting the virus during their relationship. Ian Baum sued the former Lions captain for £150,000 in damages, and accepted Thomas’ Part 36 offer of £75,000 plus costs to close the case.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, January 30, the Welshman shared that the settlement “is not an admission of liability or guilt,” and he maintained his “innocence in all the meritless allegations”.

“In personal injury cases like this the accuser has no financial risks even if they lose,but for me winning had huge financial impactions,” he explained.

“Paying £75k plus costs now is nothing compared to the many multiples of that sum I’d have had to pay to successfully defend myself in court.

“For my own mental health and that of my family, this closure and acceptance from the other side is a hugely positive outcome. As the largest HIV charity in the UK said, there are no winners in HIV cases like these, and that is certainly the case.”

Gareth Thomas concluded his statement in response to the lawsuit settlement by thanking all of his family, friends, supporters and sponsors.

According to case documents, Thomas and Baum had a “volatile and unpredictable” relationship between October 2013 and January 2016. The accuser claims to have learned about the rugby player’s HIV status in May 2014 after finding anti-viral medication on the bedroom floor, and later took a rapid HIV test that revealed he too was positive.

Baum claims that Thomas is the only person he could have contracted the virus from, having tested negative before their relationship started, and remaining monogamous throughout it.

As well as being accused of “deceptively transmitting HIV”, the former rugby player was also alleged to have removed labels from his medication and used controlling and coercive behaviour to stop his HIV status from being revealed. All of these claims he has denied.

Since being forced to come out as HIV Positive in 2019 after a tabloid press agency threatened to publish an exposé, Gareth Thomas has become a prominent HIV activist promoting campaigns for PrEP and U=U. He first responded to the claims made against him by Baum in September 2022, saying, “…three years ago I was forced to tell the world that I was living with HIV. Now for those very same reasons I am forced to come forward again today.

“Since the meritless allegations surfaced, I have endured a challenging torrent of abuse both online and in person. I’ve been spat at in the street, called a f*king AIDS spreader, told I should be locked up, that I should die, and much worse,” he revealed.

Continuing, he expressed: “I am proud of who I am. I am far from perfect, but I am also far from the person I’m accused of being. I am comfortable in my position and my defence speaks for itself. I will continue to fight these allegations and proudly continue my advocacy work undeterred with the same passion as always”.

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