The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have praised Gareth Thomas for his courage and bravery after the former Wales rugby captain revealed on Sunday that he is living with HIV. Taking to their official Kensington Palace Instagram account, the royal couple shared a video of Gareth opening up about his diagnosis, alongside a personal message from William. It read: "Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W." The post also transcribed what Gareth had said in the footage. "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."
Prince William and Kate shared Gareth Thomas' video where he spoke about his HIV
Gareth continued: "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."
Gareth has been friends with the royals for many years
The 45-year-old sports star had spoken for the first time about his diagnosis on Sunday in an interview with The Mirror. He admitted that after finding out he had HIV, he wanted to take his own life. Now, Gareth is hoping to break the stigma around the condition, and is due to talk about his diagnosis in a BBC Wales documentary which will air on Wednesday. Gareth also took part in a 140-mile Ironman triathlon on Sunday shortly after speaking out about his diagnosis. He completed the 2.4 mile swim section in just under an hour-and-a-half, before switching to a pushbike for a 112-mile race across south Pembrokshire. He will then go on to do a 26.2 mile marathon through Tenby, south west Wales.
The former rugby captain attended William and Kate's wedding in 2011
Along with Prince William and Kate, many other public figures have shown their support for Gareth. Newsreader Huw Edwards shared Gareth's video and wrote: "This takes exceptional courage," while Shane Williams – who is also taking part in the Ironman triathlon - wrote: "One of the bravest people I know! Love ya pal and see you on the beach! Let's smash this."
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