- Jonathan Van Ness, star of 'Queer Eye,' has announced that he's living with H.I.V.
- He recently sat down with the New York Times, which first published the news, in advanced of his memoir, Over the Top, out September 24.
- In the interview, Van Ness also shared his past struggle with drug addiction and that he's a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
In advance of his memoir, Over the Top, out on September 24, Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness sat down with New York Times reporter Alex Hawgood for an interview that's given him restless nights all summer.
“I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people,” he told Hawgood.
The normally bubbly Netflix star had a lot to say. He revealed that as a high schooler in Quincy, Illinois, he started using cocaine. When he ran out money for it, he created an ad on Gay.com, a chat an personals site as the Times describes it, and "advertised sex for money."
By the time he entered his 20s, Van Ness's drug addiction had advanced to smoking methamphetamine, sending him to rehab twice. After years high-risk sex and drug use, Van Ness visited a local Planned Parenthood complaining of flulike symptoms. That's when he received a diagnosis of H.I.V.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he wrote in his memoir, according to the Times.
This is the first time Van Ness has been open about his H.I.V.-positive status, as well as his history with drug addiction.
According to the Times, Van Ness is going public now because he wants to help change common stereotypes about H.I.V. "He is healthy and now describes himself as an out-and-proud 'member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community,'" wrote Hawgood.
Van Ness elaborated to the Times about his decision: “When ‘Queer Eye’ came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?,” he said. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the L.G.B.T. community thrive around me.’”
Van Ness also opened up about his status as a sexual abuse survivor. In his interview and in his memoir, he spoke about being "abused by an older boy from church, during what was supposed to be a make-believe play session," he told the Times. “For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,” he said.
H.I.V. stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is an infection that can lead to AIDS. The virus breaks down certain cells in the immune system, which protects the body against disease. More than 1 million Americans are living with H.I.V., including other celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Magic Johnson who have been vocal about their status and have helped to raise awareness and funding for research. Today, new treatments are promising thanks to major scientific advancements, according to the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF).
You Might Also Like