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The xx’s Oliver Sim shares HIV status with new solo song “Hideous”

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Jordi Vidal/Redferns

The xx vocalist and bassist Oliver Sim has released a new solo song, “Hideous,” and, in doing so, publicly shared for the first time that he was diagnosed with HIV at age 17.

“I’ve lived with my status since I was 17,” Sim, 32, writes in a statement accompanying the “Hideous” video. “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 shares that he wrote “Hideous” “quite impulsively” and intended to “release it into the world and be done with it,” but, on the advice of his mother, decided to have “conversations with people in my life first.”

“Either people I hadn’t told yet or people I had told but hadn’t wanted to talk much further on it,” Sim says. “I’ve spent the past two years since writing ‘Hideous’ having those conversations, which was difficult and uncomfortable to start with but has allowed me to feel a lot freer and has only strengthened the relationship with myself and with the people in my life.”

Sim also reached out to Scottish pop singer Jimmy Somerville, who’s long been an advocate for those with HIV and AIDS. The two developed a friendship, and Somerville is featured on “Hideous.”

“‘Am I hideous?’ no longer feels like a question I’m asking to the outside world but rather a counter active one for myself,” Sim writes. “Scary as it still feels, I’m excited to share this music with you and I hope you enjoy it.”

“Hideous” will appear on Sim’s upcoming debut solo album Hideous Bastard, due out September 9. It also includes the previously released songs “Romance with a Memory” and “Fruit.”

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