OPINION : GARETH THOMAS FORCED TO SHARE HIV STATUS
Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you would have seen Gareth Thomas’s, former Welsh rugby captain, emotional post about his HIV status on Saturday 14th September. Gareth Thomas, nicknamed “Alfie“, is a former professional Welsh and British & Irish Lions rugby international.
“Even though I have been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma around this subject.” – Gareth Thomas
You would think that in this day and age that forcing people to reveal their sexuality or HIV status would be taboo. It clearly isn’t, and that is what’s so sad and disappointing. If you’re sleeping with someone for the first time, you should be playing safe in the first place. If the person happens to share their status with you, that’s not them granting you permission to broadcast it. Just like when you find out that someone you know is gay, doesn’t give you any right to be publicising it either.
It’s appalling that, as humans, we thrive on the downfall of others, or should that be at the thought of the downfall of those who reject or hurt us. I admire and respect Gareth Thomas for taking back his truth, taking the power away from the blackmailer who meant to harm him and his family by revealing his status. Instead though by revealing his status himself, Gareth Thomas owned the moment and used it to educate the public about managing HIV. He shared how, by taking daily medication (ARVs) and having an undetectable viral load, he cannot pass on the virus.
“…even though I have been forced to tell you this, I choose to fight, to educate and break the stigma around this subject.” – Gareth Thomas
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) September 14, 2019
In an unbelievable turn of events, Gareth has received incredible support following his HIV status reveal from so many individuals including HRH Prince Harry, David Furnish and Elton John.
Gareth Thomas says by speaking out publicly about being HIV positive, he hopes to help end the stigma around the condition. Other celebrities that are embracing their HIV status and using their social status to educate the public on HIV transmission and the dangers of unprotected sex include Magic Johnson, Charlie Sheen, Thabang Sefatsa (Former Roses FC and Tigers FC player) and Criselda Kananda (Radio DJ) amongst a host of others.
“Our society has made this virus a monster and all it is, is a virus. I’m doing this for the voiceless people out there who just found out today, and know that I‘ve got their backs.” – Lesego Motsepe (World Aids Day in 2011), 28 April 1974 – 20 January 2014
photo source: stuff.co.nz