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Gareth Thomas settles HIV transmission case claim

By Ian Cameron
Gareth Thomas Credit: Sports Beat

Gareth Thomas, the former Wales and British and Irish Lion skipper, has reached a settlement with his ex-partner, Ian Baum, in a legal dispute regarding accusations of “deceptively” transmitting HIV.


Baum had claimed that Thomas had hidden his HIV status and failed to take adequate measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

According to court papers filed last year, Baum stated that he had a relationship with Thomas from 2013 to 2016, and that he was HIV negative when the relationship began.

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However, Baum alleged that he discovered Thomas’s HIV status when he saw a discarded tablet packaging marked GSK1 and upon Googling the name he discovered it was an antiviral medication for the virus.

After immediately booking an appointment for an HIV test, Baum found out that he had tested positive for the virus, leading to feelings of devastation. The settlement, which was reached based on a non-admission of liability by Thomas, saw the 48-year-old pay Baum £75,000 plus costs.

In 2009, Thomas – affectionately known as ‘Alfie’ – became the first openly gay professional rugby union player, and in 2019, he revealed that he was living with HIV in an effort to break the stigma around it.

It is not yet clear if the settlement of this case will impact Thomas’s efforts to raise awareness about HIV and end the stigma surrounding the virus.


“When I found out about treatment and how effective it could be, and how non-invasive, that I just have to take one tablet a day, once I realised that I could live a normal, healthy, happy life, I kind of came to terms with it a lot easier,” said Thomas in 2020 prior to the revelations around the legal case against him.


“For me, the goal is to get as many people aware of the fact there is a stigma around HIV, and if they are aware of it, they can do something about breaking it. I want this to reach as many people as possible,” said Thomas. “I’m not telling people what decision they should make or how they should live their lives, but they need to make an educated decision before they are prejudiced.

“If they [people] have an educated understanding of HIV, and are still prejudiced, then they are not very nice people. But a lot of nice people are doing it because they don’t understand. I want as many people to be as educated about this as possible.”


Thomas played a total of 100 matches for Wales and three for the Lions, representing teams such as Bridgend, Cardiff, Toulouse, and Cardiff Blues before retiring from rugby in 2011 and joining Welsh Rugby League side Crusaders.


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