How Fans Reacted To ‘Queer Eye’ Star Jonathan Van Ness’ HIV Diagnosis

In his role on Queer Eye, Jonathan Van Ness’ bubbly personality takes up the whole screen. That makes it hard for fans to imagine another side to the star.

In a recent New York Times interview, fans caught a glimpse of what it’s like to be Van Ness. Even at his most vulnerable, fans expect him to be on point. He doesn’t want to let them down, but sometimes he can’t be the Van Ness we see on the Netflix hit Queer Eyewhere he’s the resident hair specialist. 

The New York Times interview comes after a big revelation: Van Ness recently came out as HIV positive. It’s something he debated for a long time, but in the end, he had to be honest with himself, and with his fans. As he puts it: “These issues need to be talked about.”

Jonathan Van Ness did not always have the confidence we see on-screen

Jonathan Van Ness on 'TODAY.'
Jonathan Van Ness | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In his new book, Over the Top, Van Ness discusses his life thus far. The book spans everything from his childhood in Illinois and hitting his rock bottom, to being discovered.  

Van Ness has been flamboyant and extra forever. His mother was very supportive of him, and he became the first male cheerleader at his high school. Even though he was supported and loved at home, at school he was bullied, and it got to him. Of that time period, he says: “I was too fat, too femme, too loud and too unlovable.”

After graduating high school, Van Ness got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He started doing hard drugs, and when he didn’t have money for them, he would sell himself for cash. He was the victim of sexual abuse in his childhood, and that clearly had repercussions on his mental health. 

Fans love Jonathan Van Ness and he loves his fans

The reaction to Van Ness’ revelation of his HIV status has been overwhelmingly supportive. Yes, there are probably haters and trolls out there right now saying awful things, but they’ve been completely drowned out by all the well wishes, thank yous, and love coming from supporters. 

Fans have Van Ness’ back because he has theirs. Fans have been touched by Van Ness’ care and love for the people on his show. He boldly broaches topics that are rarely talked about.

He brought attention to traction alopecia in a recent episode: It’s a condition that predominantly affects black women, causing hair loss. One fan tweeted that Van Ness’ support of the guest on his show was “more care than I can recall a regular black woman getting on TV ever.”

According to Van Ness, he burst into tears when he read that tweet. The whole interaction is a perfect example of Van Ness’ respect and love for fans. He cares, and it shows. 

Jonathan Van Ness’ cast members support him too

Of course, Van Ness’ fellow Queer Eye cast members took to social media after his announcement to say how proud they are of him. It’s not just his cast members who feel inspired by Van Ness’ bravery. Other celebrities have shown their support for him too: Olympic Figure skater Adam Rippon, Brené Brown, and Wilson Cruz are just a few of the big names who came out and congratulated Van Ness’ for his courage in sharing his HIV status. 

Van Ness’ book, Over the Top is out now. It sounds like it’s one of the more honest celebrity autobiographies out there. Even though Van Ness was nervous about sharing his status, we hope the outpouring of support from fans, celebrities, and co-stars alike has shown him how valuable his honesty is.