Former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas’s revelation that he is living with HIV has led to a significant increase in phone and online enquiries, according to a prominent charity associated with the virus.
The Terrence Higgins Trust said the day after the ex-captain of Wales and the British and Irish Lions announced his diagnosis was the charity’s busiest since launching their HIV self-test kits.
The i newspaper cited the Trust as saying that its website had experienced high volumes of visits on its page concerning the virus being undetectable, which means it cannot be passed on.
Doctors treating Thomas, 45, have said his condition is treated to the extent that it is considered undetectable.
Thomas told the paper: “I’m overwhelmed to hear of the positive reaction to my announcement and I hope it keeps on going.
“My message is about inspiring others to have the courage to speak out and not be afraid and to help educate people.”
Thomas had said earlier that he “absolutely would not” have revealed his HIV diagnosis if a newspaper had not threatened to publish it.
He also said that “tabloids will create their own law”, adding that he did not have the cash to fight them in court.
Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with the virus and has revealed that he was driven to suicidal thoughts as a result of his diagnosis.