The Duke of Sussex interrupted his birthday celebrations to praise sportsman Gareth Thomas, who has revealed he is living with HIV. The royal, who turned 35 on Sunday, showed his support to the rugby legend in a bid to help fight the spread of HIV and AIDS in the wake of Gareth's diagnosis. Writing on his official Instagram page, which he shares with wife Meghan, Prince Harry said: "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." In an interview with The Mirror, the 45-year-old sports star had opened up out about his diagnosis for the first time. Gareth 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.
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Prince Harry's message came shortly after his brother Prince William also paid tribute to Gareth. William, who is the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, told followers on his Kensington Palace Instagram account: “Courageous as ever - legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W." The post also came with a clip of Gareth, who said: "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."
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He 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."
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