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Prince Harry meets, hugs sportsman who revealed he is living with HIV
By Mirror | Updated Nov 08, 2019 at 15:51 EAT
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Gareth Thomas, Prince Harry
SUMMARY

During the visit, Harry was presented with a tiny ruby shirt for his son Archie.

Opening up about his diagnosis in October, Gareth admitted he sobbed in the arms of a doctor, feared he would die – and felt like ending it all by driving over a cliff.

Prince Harry on Friday met former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas ahead of National HIV Testing Week, just weeks after the rugby hero revealed he is living with the virus.

National HIV Testing Week, which will run from November 16 to 22, aims to increase awareness and acceptance of HIV testing by dispelling the stigma that surrounds the virus.

During the visit, Harry was presented with a tiny ruby shirt for his son Archie.

Opening up about his diagnosis in October, Gareth admitted he sobbed in the arms of a doctor, feared he would die – and felt like ending it all by driving over a cliff.

The 45-year-old is the first UK sportsman to say he has the virus and is breaking his silence because he wants to end stigma around HIV.


He also revealed he and husband Stephen – who he met after being diagnosed – married three years ago. Stephen does not have HIV.

Former Wales rugby union and league star Gareth says of his diagnosis: “I’ve been living with this secret for years.

"I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll.

“I had a fear people would judge me and treat me like a leper because of a lack of knowledge. I was in a dark place, feeling suicidal. I thought about driving off a cliff.

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“To me, wanting to die was just a natural thought and felt like the easier way out, but you have to confront things.

"And having a strong support system and the personal strength and experience of overcoming those emotions got me through it.

“Many people live in fear and shame of having HIV, but I refuse to be one of them now. We need to break the stigma once and for all.

“I’m speaking out because I want to help others and make a difference.”

Gareth got the news after going for a routine sexual health test at a private clinic in Cardiff.

“I’d had the tests every now and again and they’d always come back okay. I didn’t feel ill and I thought everything was going to be fine.

“The woman who did the test took blood as usual, then I went out to my car and waited for about an hour before going back in to get my results.”

His voice choking with emotion, Gareth adds: “When I went back in, I sat down on a chair next to a doctor’s bench. She told me in a quite matter of fact way I had tested HIV positive.

“When she said those words I broke down. I was in such a state. I immediately thought I was going to die.

"I felt like an express train was hitting me at 300mph. I wasn’t expecting it at all. Then I was thinking ‘how long have I got left?’ I was distraught.”


The testing week, which promotes the benefits of regular testing and treatment for both the individual and the community, also raises the awareness of how quick and easy it is to test for HIV – be it in clinical settings, in primary care, through community-based rapid testing or via postal testing.

This helps to improve early diagnosis and treatment of HIV, thus reducing onward transmission.

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