Photo Credit: Conchita Wurst Facebook
Austrian drag performer and LGBT+ activist Conchita Wurst has been forced to reveal that she is HIV positive.
The 29 year old winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, revealed the news in an Instagram post after being blackmailed by a former boyfriend.
"I have been HIV-positive for many years ," she wrote in her native German. "This is actually irrelevant to the public but an ex-boyfriend is threatening to go public with this private information, and I will not give anyone the right to frighten me or affect my life."
"Since I received the diagnosis, I have been in medical treatment, and for many years without interruption I have been below the detection limit, which means I am unable to transmit the virus.”
"I hope to give others courage and to take another step against the stigmatization of people who, through their own behaviour or that of others, have become infected with HIV."
"She ended the post by writing "to my fans: the information about my HIV status may be new to you - my status is not! I'm well and... I'm stronger, more motivated and liberated than ever. Thank you for your support!"
Ian Green, Chief Executive of Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, released a statement condemning Wurst’s ex-boyfriend and praising Wurst for “handling this with such dignity.”
"The decision to talk openly about your HIV status should be a personal one and not taken away or ever, ever used as a threat," he wrote.
"Threatening to reveal someone's HIV status, under any circumstances, is entirely wrong. What other health condition would be used as blackmail against someone? And we know this isn't something which only happens to those in the public eye."