Former Wales captain and international rugby star-turned-LGBTQ+ campaigner Gareth Thomas has been accused of “deceptively” transmitting HIV to an ex-partner.
The 48-year-old is being sued in the High Court by former boyfriend Ian Baum for allegedly hiding his HIV status and “failing to take reasonable care” not to transmit it.
Mr Thomas reportedly intends to contest the claim.
His representatives were contacted for a comment.
If Mr Baum wins in court, he could claim damages of £150,000 (€177,000) or more.
The pair were in a relationship from 2013-2016. Mr Baum claims he was HIV negative when they first became an item, court papers said.
He said he noticed the sportsman was taking pills from bottles which had the labels ripped off them but was told they were multivitamins.
He alleged he found out Mr Thomas had HIV after finding a tablet marked GSK1. “On googling the GSK1 pill, the claimant discovered that the defendant was taking anti-viral HIV medication,” documents said.
Mr Baum said he “immediately” went to get a rapid HIV test and, after finding out he was positive, felt “devastated” and went into “shock”.
He said he rang Mr Thomas, “who was very repentant and apologetic on the telephone”, for an explanation.
“By transmitting HIV to the claimant, the defendant has caused him serious physical and psychological injury,” court papers said.
Mr Thomas is said to have “pleaded” with Mr Baum to keep his HIV status a secret and, after he agreed, the relationship continued.
Mr Thomas then used “coercive and controlling behaviour” to prevent his HIV status becoming public knowledge, Mr Baum claimed .
“That information, had it become publicly known, would have been extremely damaging to the defendant’s public reputation as a person who had spoken out about his homosexuality and LGBTQ issues,” court documents stated.
“Since that time, the defendant has portrayed himself as a spokesperson for HIV without ever disclosing that he deceptively transmitted HIV to the claimant in 2014.”
Mr Baum said he felt “vulnerable and unsure about his future” after his diagnosis but was “very much in love with” Mr Thomas and devastated that he had been “deceived”.
It will be claimed Mr Baum wrote a note in January 2016 saying: “I lied – I already had HIV. Give this to your solicitor.”
Mr Baum’s legal team claim it is an example of their client’s “vulnerability”, and he does not remember writing it.