Rugby legend Gareth Thomas will discuss his HIV diagnosis in an upcoming BBC documentary.
Titled HIV and Me, Thomas hopes that being open will change perceptions and help fight prejudice around the disease.
The show will premiere on Wednesday 18th September on BBC One Wales at 9pm. The show will air on BBC One at 10.25pm on Wednesday night for the rest of the UK, and will be available on BBC iPlayer afterwards.
The former Wales rugby captain, who came out as gay in 2009, opened up about the illness ahead of the gruelling Ironman contest which he took part in on Sunday (15th September).
In announcing his diagnosis, Thomas explained he had been threatened by blackmailers about the illness – and at times felt suicidal.
“I’ve been living with this secret for years. I’ve felt shame and keeping such a big secret has taken its toll,” he said.
“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,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
Gareth Thomas opened up about his diagnosis ahead of competing in Ironman Wales
“Having a strong support system and the personal strength and experience of overcoming those emotions got me through it. We need to break the stigma once and for all. I’m speaking out because I want to help others and make a difference.”
Thomas’s frank honesty was met with an outpouring of support – with Sir Elton John, Samantha Womack, Andy Bell and fellow sportsman Jonny Wilkinson all standing by the star.
On the Kensington Palace Twitter page, Prince William wrote: “Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth.”
Prince Harry will also partner up with Thomas to work together and raise awareness for HIV and the current methods of treatment.
Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me airs Wednesday 18th September on BBC One Wales. It will then be available to stream on iPlayer