Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas has revealed that a tabloid journalist told his parents about his HIV Positive status before they knew anything about it.
The former international captain announced that he is HIV positive on Saturday - noting that, through treatment, the condition is undetectable and can't be transmitted to his husband.
He completed the "toughest Ironman in the world" the following day in a bid to break the stigma around the condition and to show people that a HIV diagnosis is not a weakness.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) September 18, 2019
On BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, he said he had been "living in fear" that the paper would publish his status before he could do it on his own terms.
He said he wanted to "understand everything" about the condition before talking to his parents about it.
"They love me," he said. "They love me whatever [happens]."
"But I can never have time back. I can never have that moment back. To sit down with them and be able to explain to them why their son is going to be Ok and is going to be able to live through this and live a healthy and normal life.
"I can never have that moment back; that person came and took that moment away from me."
Thank you Tenby. Yesterday was not about me, it was about you, and you delivered, and some!!!i can’t write this without thanking Peter Willis and @MirrorGemma of the @DailyMirror for all their support and giving me hope in a system that took me to the edge.xx pic.twitter.com/bpIxYQo7nD
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) September 16, 2019
"Can you imagine somebody coming in to your door and saying something so personal and so intrusive to you about the person you would love and protect through everything," he said.
"Can you imagine how that would feel? I can't so I can't really tell you.
"What I can tell is that I have got the best parents on this planet because to this day, they stand by me and they believe in me and they believe in what I am doing now."
Follow @GarethThomas14 on his journey to get to grips with his HIV diagnosis, taking on the stigmas and myths surrounding the condition.
Documentary - Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me
Wednesday 9pm BBC One Wales / BBC iPlayer pic.twitter.com/utPXw7HHwH
— BBC Wales 🏴 (@BBCWales) September 17, 2019
He shared his story after England cricketer Ben Stokes described The Sun newspaper as "immoral and heartless" for printing a story about a tragedy his family endure three decades ago.
Mr Thomas said the public would not be surprised to learn which paper blackmailed him - adding, "if you flicked a coin and it had heads on both sides, then you'd land on the right option."
The rugby player is now teaming up with Britain's Prince Harry to raise awareness of what it is like living with HIV and the treatments available.
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) September 14, 2019