Oliver Sim from the Mercury Prize-winning indie group The xx has revealed that he has been living with HIV since he was 17.
The now 32-year-old singer and bassist posted on his Instagram that writing a song about his condition made him want to address it publicly for the first time.
Sim wrote: “I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it’s played with how I’ve felt towards myself, and how I’ve assumed others have felt towards me, from that age and into my adult life."
He added: “So, quite impulsively, I wrote it on a song called 'Hideous'. I thought I could release it in the world and be done with it. After playing the song to my mum, being the protective and wise mum that she is, she gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received."
Sim went on to say that his mum encouraged him to speak about living with the incurable illness: “Either people I hadn’t told yet, or people I had told but hadn’t wanted to talk much further on it.”
Watch: Woman diagnosed with HIV at 19 on her mission to educate others
He then revealed that he has spent the last two years having conversations around HIV and it has made him feel "a lot freer".
Sim also mentioned the importance of recruiting Jimmy Sommerville to feature in the new song. He said: “I knew for 'Hideous' I wanted a guardian angel to appear in the song and sing to me the words I needed to hear. Not only has Jimmy been such a powerful voice around HIV and Aids for decades, but the man quite literally sounds like a guardian angel."
He also talked about his relationship with the Bronski Beat singer: “I reached out to him as a complete fanboy, but now consider him a real good friend. He encouraged me to do the song for myself.
"And most importantly, he reminded me not to take myself too seriously, no good comes from that!"
Sim's debut solo album Hideous Bastard will be released on 9 September and it is produced by bandmate Jamie xx.
The xx's debut album xx, released in 2009, peaked at number three in the UK Album Chart and was named Album of the Year by the Guardian. It won the Mercury Prize in 2010. The group have released three albums to date: xx, Coexist (2012) and I See You (2017).
HIV is a relatively rare virus that damages the human immune system over a prolonged period of time, making the person more prone to infection and cancers.
Symptoms of HIV infection include a flu-like illness two to six weeks after being infected. The virus may not then cause any symptoms for a number of years.
If you think you have been infected with HIV, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.