London (AFP)

In the aftermath of the revelation of his HIV status, Gareth Thomas, the former captain of the Wales rugby team and the British and Irish Lions, said he wanted to "end the stigma" about the disease. .

"Today I choose to fight, educate and end the stigma around this subject," assured the man in the 100 selections with the XV Leek, 45, in a video posted on the night of Saturday to Sunday on his Twitter account.

"I'm asking you to help me to show that everyone lives in fear of the reactions and opinions of others, but that should not mean that we have to hide."

"I also want to encourage all people who are in the same situation as me.To succeed in doing this, I must educate myself, I must be strong, and I must be a completely different person", he also said in a documentary that will air on Wednesday on the British channel BBC.

"What I want to learn to do is to be able to say to myself, + I have AIDS, but it's OK! +," Continued Gareth Thomas, competing Sunday in Tenby (Wales) on a Iron Man, the longest format of the triathlon.

"When I discovered that I should live with the HIV virus, my first thought was to tell me that I was going to die," the Welshman told the BBC camera. "The main reason I'm doing this is that I want to remember what it feels like to feel free."

"I do not blame people for not being aware of the situation, the problem is that in the scenarios accepted in the 1980s, people did not talk about it because they did not have other information "that knowing that one is suffering from AIDS, had added the former player Stade Toulousain, with whom he won the European Cup in 2005.

Gareth Thomas, who competed in four World Cups, revealed his homosexuality in 2009.

He began his international career in 1995 before retiring in 2011. He was captain of the XV du Poireau 50 times.

© 2019 AFP