Harry offered support to Gareth Thomas and his family

Former rugby player Gareth Thomas has told how the Duke of Sussex offered support to him and his family after he publicly revealed he was HIV positive.

The ex-Wales rugby captain told ITV’s Loose Women that Harry contacted him straight away.

“When I came out publicly about my living with HIV status, he straight away contacted me, he offered support – not just for me – he said, ‘Are your mum and dad OK? Is your husband OK? Is your stepdaughter OK?'”

Harry and Gareth Thomas
Harry and Gareth Thomas

The pair have since collaborated on a new film released by the Terrence Higgins Trust to mark national HIV Testing Week.

Thomas added: “We need to also break the stigma of getting tested. People are fearful of being tested.”

On revealing his diagnosis, he said: “It’s impacted my life in a way that has made me so powerful. I am stripped bare.

“I have nothing to hide which is actually quite a free feeling, it’s really nice. It’s really, really nice.

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“Gareth, you are an absolute legend! In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV. We should all be appalled by the way you were forced to speak your truth, it is yours and yours alone to share on your terms and I and millions stand with you.” – H • A lot of you will know who Gareth Thomas is, but many of you may not. This retired welsh rugby player, father, husband, role model – today revealed he is HIV positive. In his statement he shares: Hello, I’m Gareth Thomas 🏉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 and I want to share my secret with you. Why? Because it’s mine to tell you. Not the evils that make my life hell, threatening to tell you before I do. And because I believe in you, and I trust you. I am living with HIV. Now you have that information, that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak. Now even though I’ve 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 Iron Man in the world in Tenby 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 and I push myself physically to the limits. I’m asking you to help me to show that everyone lives in fear of people’s reactions and opinions, but that doesn’t mean we have to hide. But to do this, I really really need your support. @gareththomasofficial #YourRaceYourVictory Photo©️Rowan Griffiths/Sunday Mirror

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Sep 15, 2019 at 11:54am PDT

“What I see now every day which gives me more – this is not about me – more strength and more belief in what I represent, I see people talking about HIV.”

After Thomas revealed he was HIV positive, Harry, on his SussexRoyal social media account, described him as an “absolute legend”.

The duke said: “In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV.”