In his upcoming memoir Over the Top, one of the revelations the Queer Eye star shares is that he tested positive for HIV when he was 25, after fainting while working on a client’s hair, The New York Times reports.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he writes in the book, according to the newspaper.
On Saturday, Van Ness, 32, wrote about the Times article and his memoir on Instagram, saying that sharing his story with the world “is the most important opportunity I’ve ever had.”
“The first article about the book came out today from the @nytimes & I’m relieved I can speak fully about the things that shape my experience in life,” wrote Van Ness, whose book is available on Sept. 24. “The book speaks to some extremely difficult times but it’s also filled with my humor, joy and voice & I can’t wait to share it with you fully. Thanks so much for your support so far, it means the world.”
Van Ness’ Queer Eye costars supported the reality star in the comments of his post.
“Love you baby boy,” Bobby Berk added. “So proud of you ♥️♥️♥️♥️.”
“This was so incredible to wake up to and read,” McGrady wrote. “Thank you for sharing your story. You are making so many feel less alone. ❤️”
“Thank you for allowing yourself to be so raw & open and showing the world that vulnerability can be a strength. Love you @jvn ❤️,” Kwan wrote, while Carden commented with three simple red heart emojis.
“Love you. Forever. 💕,” model Tess Holliday commented.
“A hero ❤️❤️❤️,” figure skater Adam Rippon added. “Also, amazing article. So much love for you.”
On Twitter, Padma Lakshmi tweeted her own message of support to the Queer Eye star.
“Thank you @jvn,” she wrote. “You are helping so many in the HIV+ community by being your beautiful self.”
Van Ness, who describes himself as a healthy and proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community,” went on to explain to the Times why he chose to disclose his status.
“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’” he told the newspaper. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me.’ ”
“I do feel the need to talk about this,” he added.
“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” Van Ness continued. “That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”