Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst has revealed he has been receiving regular treatment for HIV for several years. The Austrian singer said he was forced to share his diagnosis after being blackmailed by an ex-boyfriend.
Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst revealed in an Instagram post on Sunday that he has been receiving treatment for HIV for several years.
The 29-year-old singer said he had not intended to make the diagnosis public, but had been forced to do so because of threats from a former boyfriend.
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"I have been HIV positive for many years," Wurst wrote on Instagram. "This is actually irrelevant to the public, but an ex-boyfriend has threatened to take this private information public and I will never give anyone the right to frighten me and influence my life because of it."
Wurst added that the virus was below the detectability threshold and could therefore no longer be passed on.
"I hope to give others courage and to take another step against the stigmatization of people who, through their own behavior or that of others, have become infected with HIV," Wurst said.
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Now 26 years old, it's high time for Austrian drag queen Tom Neuwirth to write his memoirs. As Conchita Wurst, the bearded woman with a breathtaking voice, he's already written history. Now he's just presented his latest single along with this autobiography.
Tom Neuwirth grew up in the Steiermark region of Austria and discovered a love for music and fashion early on. As a youth, he was often teased and mocked, he writes in his book. He moved out at the age of 14, and came out of the closet at 17.
First attempts at stardom
In 2006, Tom participated in an Austrian casting show and took second place. He and three other guys later founded a boy band called "Jetzt anders!" (Now different). They only played a few shows. In the meantime, Tom went to fashion school in Graz and graduated in 2011.
Conchita is born
After fashion school, Tom launched his career. He invented the character Conchita Wurst and started performing as a drag queen. Conchita knows very well that she polarizes audiences - but also knows exactly what she wants. And that is to move people to accept others' differences. Winning the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest brought Conchita Wurst international fame.
A phoenix has risen
Quirky and talented seems to be the recipe for success at Eurovision. Conchita Wurst won last year with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix." It was Austria's second-ever victory since Udo Jürgens took the trophy back in 1966.
Conchita takes Paris and Brussels
Conchita Wurst has had a busy schedule since winning the 2014 contest. She performs, for example, in Paris' famous Crazy Horse cabaret (pictured). And fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier has called her his muse and designed outfits for her. Conchita has also spoken in front of the European Parliament to support rights for sexual minorities.
Album coming soon
Along with the colorful, 128-page autobiography, Conchita Wurst is also releasing a new single. "You Are Unstoppable" is a swooning pop song with orchestral accompaniment. The complete album is in the works. Conchita Wurst will also be performing on March 5, when Germany's 2015 Eurovision candidate is selected in a televised show.
Wurst vows to continue performing as usual
Wurst, who is the alter ego of drag artist Tom Neuwirth, rose to fame after winning the 2014 Eurovision song contest with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix."
Wurst sought to reassure the public about his health, writing "I'm well and I'm stronger, more motivated and more liberated than ever. Thank you for your support!"
Read more: Opinion: A triumph for tolerance
The singer is scheduled to host the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards and is also working with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra on a new album entitled "From Vienna with Love," due out in October.
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World Stories | 09.12.2017