The moment Gareth Thomas found out he was HIV positive, all he could imagine was the Aids epidemic. Sensational images of his future took over: frailty, shame, isolation, social exclusion. He remembered Norman Fowler’s tombstone advert and the people with leprosy he learned about at school who were banished to colonies. He thought it was a death sentence.
“It was an overriding feeling that my life was over,” says the former Welsh rugby captain. “It’s like somebody holding a gun to your head and pulling the trigger – how do you explain how that feels?”