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  1. ITV Report

Gareth Thomas’s disclosure of HIV has led to surge in enquiries, charity says

Terrence Higgins Trust says Gareth Thomas's diagnosis led to surge in enquiries. Credit: PA

Former Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas's revelation that he is living with HIV has led to an increase in phone and online enquiries 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 Trust said its website had experienced high volumes of visits on its page concerning the virus being undetectable, which means it cannot be passed on.

It was their busiest day for HIV self test orders since they launched the services - three times higher than the average day.

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Ian Green, chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "There's been a big jump in traffic accessing details about effective treatment which means people living with HIV – just like Gareth - can’t pass it on.

"Gareth has helped to smash misinformation and stigma about HIV by showing it will not stop him living life to the full.

"I am incredibly proud to call Gareth a friend and he is already making a massive difference in how society sees HIV in 2019."

Doctors treating Thomas, 45, have said his condition is treated to the extent that it is considered undetectable.

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Thomas told the i newspaper: “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.