On 14 September 2019, Welsh rugby legend and GMFA supporter, Gareth Thomas came out as living with HIV. Gareth, who came out in gay in 2009, said in a public video that he is living with HIV. Gareth, who has been a keen supporter of GMFA and donated items for auction to help support our work told his followers that he had been forced to state his status against his will. Ian Howley, our Chief Executive, responded to this story. 

Ian said; "It hurts me that Gareth has been forced to go public with his status this way. Nobody, no matter what public status we have, should be forced to state their HIV status. But we want Gareth to know that GMFA 100% supports him and hopes he knows that by being open with his status he will help break down stigma and support others who are struggling with their status. Ending stigma towards those living with HIV is a battle but with people like Gareth on our side we can do it. Let's all work together to end HIV and stop HIV Stigma."

Speaking on Gareth being forced to disclose his status, Ian continues, "When I watched Gareth's video I felt hurt at the fact he was doing this because someone was forcing him to do it. Yes we need people living with HIV to to open with their status, it's the best way to end HIV stigma, but people living with HIV also have the right to not tell people. That option was taken away from Gareth. That's not acceptable."

Finally, Ian add: "The media needs to understand the impact forcing someone to publicly state their status can have. Sensationalising a subject like HIV keeps us in the past. Living with HIV in 2019 should not be front page news. This media sensationalising HIV will only stop others from disclosing their status. I hope we get to the stage when someone who is as public as Gareth declaring his HIV status is not news. Let's work towards that."

For more info about HIV-undetectable visit, https://www.gmfa.org.uk/hiv-undetectable

To find your nearest GUM clinic to test for HIV and STIs visit, https://www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics