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Former Rugby Captain Gareth Thomas Settles HIV Accusation Case

Former Welsh rugby International captain Gareth Thomas
Thomas reacts after finishing Ironman Wales in September 2019

The settlement highlights an outdated UK law targeting those living with HIV.

Ian Baum, a previous lover of former Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas, sued the rugby star for “deceptively” transmitting HIV to him.

According to The Guardian, Thomas settled the case and will pay around $100,00 USD plus costs, though he maintained his innocence “in all the meritless allegations.”

Thomas and Baum dated between 2013 and 2016, and court papers claim Baum was not HIV-positive when they got together. Baum said he had found antiretrovirals that Thomas claimed were multivitamins. Once he found out the truth, Baum “immediately” got a rapid HIV test and was “devastated” and “went into shock” when the results came back positive.

Reporting from Queerty brings up a UK law where those who knowingly have HIV can be found guilty of “reckless HIV transmission” if they have condomless sex and transmit the virus to those unaware of their status. The outdated criminalization laws — initiated at the height of the AIDS epidemic — fail to include the often-achieved “undetectable” viral levels in the blood, which make it almost impossible to transmit the virus.

Medications like pre-exposure prophylactics (PrEP) can also be used to help one maintain their negative status.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Thomas addressed the case “before the tabloids take my truth,”and did not admit any liability or guilt. Speaking of closure, he wrote, “As the largest HIV charity in the UK said, there are no winners in HIV cases like these, and that is certainly the case.”

In an interview with BBC Wales, Baum said he had no regrets of pursuing any legal action.

“I used to hear my parents say ‘I wish we’d done this’ or ‘I wish we’d done that,’” he said. “I didn’t want to go through life with any regrets. If I didn’t push this as far as I could push it, it would have been one of the biggest regrets of my life [and] I wouldn’t have got my closure.” 

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