Openly gay Welsh rugby great Gareth Thomas is defending himself against claims made by an ex-partner that he did not disclose his HIV status.

49-year-old Thomas, who retired from professional rugby in 2011, was the world’s first openly gay professional rugby player.

The former Welsh captain revealed in 2019 that he was living with HIV. However, former partner Ian Baum has since gone public alleging that Thomas had not disclosed his HIV status and had passed on the virus to him.


Baum has also accused Thomas of being controlling and coercive in the relationship and is suing Thomas for assault, battery, infliction of intentional harm and negligence, seeking at least £150,000 in damages.

Thomas, who denies passing on the virus, has since admitted in court that he did not tell Baum about his status at the start of their relationship, which was described as on-and-off between 2013 and 2018.

Thomas has also hit back at what he describes as “a media witch hunt” and addressed the negative responses he has experienced since his former partner’s allegations came to light.

“After being blackmailed for £250,000 and a media witch hunt to expose my HIV status, three years ago I was forced to tell the world that I was living with HIV. Now for those very same reasons I am forced to come forward again today,” he wrote on Twitter.

“since the meritless allegations surfaced, I have endured a challenging torrent of abuse both online and in person. I’ve been spat at in the street, called a f*king AIDS spreader, told I should be locked up, that I should die, and much worse.”

“I am proud of who I am. I am far from perfect, but I am also far from the person I’m accused of being,” he added.

“I am comfortable in my position, and my defence speaks for itself. I will continue to fight these allegations and proudly continue my advocacy work undeterred with the same passion as always.”

Thomas also took the time to thank his supporters, saying, “they have shown me both personally and professionally at this time. It has been empowering.”