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Harry to meet Gareth Thomas to highlight importance of HIV tests

The former rugby star came out as gay in 2009 and earlier this year was forced to reveal he had HIV.

The Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas (Paul Grover/Telegraph/Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas (Paul Grover/Telegraph/Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duke of Sussex will team up with former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas to highlight the importance of being tested for the HIV virus.

Harry and Thomas, who has HIV, will meet players from the King’s Cross Steelers, who style themselves as the world’s first gay rugby club, and others from Premiership Rugby club Harlequins, to raise awareness about the issue.

Thomas was the highest-profile sportsman in the UK to reveal he was gay when he came out in 2009 and earlier this year he said he was forced to reveal his HIV diagnosis after a tabloid newspaper threatened to publish it.

The ex-fullback, who captained both Wales and the British Lions, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with HIV.

In recent interviews he said he was driven to suicidal thoughts as a result of his diagnosis but Harry and his brother the Duke of Cambridge have praised the Welshman for revealing he was HIV positive.

Harry and Thomas decided to work together after the royal texted the Welshman asking to chat a few days after he revealed his HIV status in a Twitter video, now watched almost five million times and a Sunday newspaper interview in September.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, a voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services, said the day after the Welshman’s announcement was the charity’s busiest since launching their HIV self-test kits.

The duke and the sportsman will meet the club players at the Twickenham Stoop, home of Harlequins, ahead of National HIV Testing Week, which will run from November 16 to 22.

PA

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