Gareth Thomas breaks down in tears as he reveals trauma of telling his family he is HIV positive saying: 'I didn’t want my brother to be afraid of me cuddling my niece'
- Gareth Thomas revealed he is living with HIV in brave announcement on Sunday
- The 45-year-old told This Morning his reasons for keeping diagnosis from family
- Fears including not being able to hold his loved ones without them worrying
This is the moment Gareth Thomas broke down in tears as he said he didn't tell his brother he had HIV because he didn't want him to be afraid of him cuddling his niece.
The Welsh rugby legend sobbed as he bravely appeared on This Morning to discuss why he didn't go public about living with the virus two years ago.
Fresh from completing an Ironman Triathlon, he told Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that he didn't want loved ones to be scared of catching the illness.
‘When people find out they look at you differently, treat you differently or they act differently,' he said. ‘I didn’t want my brother, who didn't have the knowledge of it, to be afraid of me cuddling my niece.'
Gareth Thomas is pictured on This Morning today telling Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his reasons for not revealing his diagnosis earlier
The 45-year-old told the show that he wanted to hold people without them fearing him due to misconceptions about HIV being so easily passed.
Since going public with the news on Sunday, he has been praised for his bravery by admirers including Princes William and Harry.
He hopes that the revelation, and the acceptance that it generates, will fight anxieties about HIV that result from misinformation.
Though he admitted his diagnosis two years ago felt like a death sentence, he says he soon found that, with the right medication, it was manageable to the point that he does not suffer symptoms.
The 45-year-old is pictured on his bike this morning after completing a 2.3-mile swim
Thomas (pictured centre) is today taking part in the Wales Ironman competition in Tenby. He is pictured emerging from the water this morning after completing the gruelling 2.3-mile swim
After becoming the first major British sports star to come out as HIV-positive, he began the gruelling Ironman Wales triathlon, but broke down after completing the swim and cycle (pictured)
'It is not connected to death it is connected to life and that is what I’m doing to the max,' he said. ‘I’m not afraid anymore - I did a freaking Ironman yesterday.'
Mr Thomas completed the challenge in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, in 12 hours and 18 minutes.
He aimed to challenge preconceptions that people living with HIV are weak with his show of strength.
Today he said that if his effort helps those with the virus in the future, his two years facing down blackmailers has been worth it.
‘A guy from Bridgend without a single GCSE to his name for one moment changed the world,' he said.
The Duke of Sussex - who dubbed Thomas a 'legend' in light of the news - has been trying to set up a phone call with him, to which he responded after the race: 'Oh I’m a bit tired today, he can call me tomorrow!'
Known as 'Alfie' throughout his league and union careers, the former player said at the weekend that he went public with his diagnosis to take power out of the hands of those trying to extort him.