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Photography by Casper Sejersen

The xx’s Oliver Sim says he’s been living with HIV since 17

The bassist and vocalist spoke about his diagnosis in a statement, while announcing both his debut solo album and new single ‘Hideous’

Oliver Sim, vocalist and bass guitarist of The xx, has revealed that he has been living with HIV since he was 17.

Sim spoke candidly about his diagnosis in a statement shared alongside his new solo song “Hideous”, the first single from his forthcoming debut solo album, Hideous Bastard. Produced by Jamie xx, Hideous Bastard draws inspiration from Sim’s own life experiences.

“Early on in the making of my record, Hideous Bastard, I realised that I was writing a lot about fear and shame. I imagine that might paint a picture of a dark, “woe is me” sounding album, but in recent years I’ve become a firm believer that the best antidote to these feelings can be bringing them to the surface and shedding some light on them,” Sim said in the statement.

“I realised I’d been circling around one of the things that has probably caused me the most fear and shame. My HIV status. 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,” Sim said. “So, quite impulsively, I wrote about it on a song called ‘Hideous’.”

‘Hideous’ features Jimmy Somerville, who Sim describes as a “guardian angel” and praised for being a “powerful voice around HIV and AIDS for decades”.

Hideous Bastard is released by Young on September 9. Watch the video for ‘Hideous’ below.