Former Welsh rugby star reveals he was blackmailed over HIV diagnosis

Former Welsh rugby star reveals he was blackmailed over HIV diagnosis

Former Welsh rugby star reveals he was blackmailed over HIV diagnosis

"But I think when it was all about my sexuality, it just seemed like there was more empathy and more understanding because you had more knowledge, because you could turn on the telly and you could see that there was LGBT representation on most platforms".

He adds that it's "not necessarily what it's doing to us physically" which is an issue - in fact, he says treatment for the virus is quite simple.

Prince Harry and Prince William have sent powerful messages of support to retired Wales and British Lions rugby star Gareth Thomas after he announced he is HIV positive.

"Anyone who speaks publicly about living with HIV is incredible and wants to achieve the same thing", says George.

"The stigma still does exist".

Thomas described sobbing in the arms of the doctor who gave him his diagnosis, as well as tearfully telling a friend he thought he was going to do, as he travelled to Cardiff Royal Infirmary.

Gareth Thomas has again shown enormous strength in declaring himself HIV positive.

A role model challenging stigma and prejudice.

Mr Green said that Thomas blazed a trail by being the first rugby player to come out as gay and "has done so much to encourage inclusion and diversity within the sport".

"He was opening up this whole new world and showing that we exist, if you will, we're everywhere".

The rugby star compared his condition to "living with diabetes or high blood pressure" and appears to be as fit as ever.

And Mr Owens said: "Stay strong my friend and as always well done for being so fearless and speak about these important issues that affect so many and will help even more".

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George is HIV-positive but undetectable.

He also spoke of how work started by Diana, Princess of Wales, can be built upon to change people's attitudes towards HIV and AIDS. "We are very lucky to have someone like Gareth advocating for people living with HIV".

"You can push through it, but it's hard".

Life expectancy of people with the virus is approaching that of a person who tests negative, as long as they adhere to a combination of ongoing medications called anti-retroviral therapy. "But to do this, I really, really need your support".

"When he came out of the sea there was a massive amount of goodwill", he said.

"And to do that I have to educate myself".

There are an estimated 101,600 people in the United Kingdom with HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus - but many consider it too taboo to reveal it.

It has been passed on between humans for many decades but was only identified in the early 1980s.

The Duke and Sir Elton launched the MenStar coalition a year ago which will expand the diagnoses and treatment of HIV infections in men, 'with the aim of ultimately ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, ' Kensington Palace said at the time.

473 of the people diagnosed in 2018 were aged 15-24.

There are an estimated 94,100 people living with HIV in the United Kingdom, around 2,200 of them in Wales; 4,484 people were diagnosed in 2018, a 28% decline since 2015.

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