Out UK rugby star Gareth Thomas gave an emotional speech last week about living with HIV.

Thomas, who came out publicly as gay in 2009 and retired from the sport in 2011, last month announced that he's HIV-positive.

He said that he decided to “share his secret” after being put “through hell” by tabloid blackmailers who threatened to expose his status.

Thomas was presented with the Game Changer Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2019.

In accepting the award, Thomas thanked the “game changers” in his life: his husband and step-daughter.

“There are two very special people in this room that I have to thank,” Thomas, 45, said. “And that's my husband and my step-daughter because genuinely, behind closed doors, when I lived in absolute fear of being rejected, being turned away and not being supported, those two people stood by me and they gave me the strength to be able to stand here today.”

"So, as much as I may be a game changer, I'm only that because I stood by two game changers and they made my life possible.”

"And just to finish, as a sign of strength, I just want to say: I have HIV, but HIV does not fucking have me!" he added.