Prince Harry has heaped praise on rugby legend Gareth Thomas for speaking out about living with HIV.
The former Wales rugby captain shared his story in a Sunday Mirror interview in which he spoke about having the condition publicly for the first time.
And just hours after an emotional Gareth hugged his husband Stephen during an ironman race, Prince Harry has backed the rugby player's decision to reveal his medical history.
“Gareth, you are an absolute legend!" the Duke of Sussex said.
"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 disgusted 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.”
The prince, who called for HIV testing to be normalised and underwent the procedure on camera in 2016, was referring to claims that attempts had been made to blackmail Gareth by threatening to reveal his HIV positive status.
This morning William, through his and Kate's Kensington Palace Twitter account, Prince William backed the rugby union and league player.
He wrote: "Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W".
The 'W' means it was written by the dad-of-three himself.
In his interview with the Sunday Mirror the rugby star told of how he sobbed in the arms of a doctor, feared he would die – and felt like ending it all by driving off a cliff.
He is the first UK sportsman to reveal he has the virus and is breaking his silence because he wants to end stigma around HIV.
He also revealed his husband Stephen does not have HIV.
“I’ve been living with this secret for years.
"I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll.
“I had a fear people would judge me and treat me like a leper because of a lack of knowledge. I was in a dark place, feeling suicidal. I thought about driving off a cliff.
“To me, wanting to die was just a natural thought and felt like the easier way out, but you have to confront things.
"And having a strong support system and the personal strength and experience of overcoming those emotions got me through it.
“Many people live in fear and shame of having HIV, but I refuse to be one of them now. We need to break the stigma once and for all.
“I’m speaking out because I want to help others and make a difference.”
Gareth was forced into telling his parents about his diagnosis after blackmailers contacted him and made their threats.
The 45-year-old said: “I’ve been threatened by people who said they would give away my secret. It’s sick and I’ve been through hell.
“I was being blackmailed and in my mind I thought you only get blackmailed for something really bad, which compounded the feeling of shame.
“When someone else knows a secret as big as that they can determine your happiness or sadness every morning and use it as a weapon against you and your family.
“It put me in the darkest place ever. I felt I was losing control of my own life.”
Gareth initially hid the devastating diagnosis from his loving parents Yvonne, 70, and Barry, 69, for years.
But he finally decided to tell them and his two older brothers Steven and Richard after fearing his secret was about to be exposed.
Today he was spotted hugging his parents during the running leg of the ironman competition in Wales.
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