Jonathan Van Ness of ‘Queer Eye’ Reveals He Is HIV Positive
Jonathan Van Ness is one of the five stars of Netflix’s show, Queer Eye. In addition to Queer Eye, Van Ness also has a podcast called Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness and previously ran the web series Gay of Thrones. Van Ness’ memoir Over the Top hits shelves later in September. In an interview with The New York Times discussing the memoir, Van Ness revealed he is HIV positive.
Jonathan Van Ness received the HIV positive diagnosis when he was 25 years old
Van Ness’ memoir comes out on Sept. 24, 2019. In the interview with The New York Times, Van Ness admitted he was worried about some of the things he included in the memoir.
“It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly,” he said.
One of those things Van Ness had yet to share with the public is that he is HIV positive. In the book and interview, Van Ness opened up about past events that led him on a path of self-destructive behavior. After being sexually assaulted, Van Ness began meeting older men for sex in exchange for money. He also entered rehab twice for his use of methamphetamine.
When Van Ness was 25 years old, he fainted while highlighting a client’s hair. At Planned Parenthood the next day, he received an HIV positive diagnosis.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he said.
He decided to come forward with his diagnosis to try and combat the stigma around it
Van Ness told The New York Times he chose to tell people about his diagnosis to combat the stigma and misconceptions about being HIV positive.
“When ‘Queer Eye’ came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status? 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,’” he said in the interview.
Van Ness added, “I do feel the need to talk about this.”
Jonathan Van Ness lives a healthy lifestyle now
In The New York Times interview, Van Ness described himself as an “out-and-proud ‘member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community.'” He also told the newspaper that while he does drink and smoke marijuana, he does not use hard drugs anymore. Van Ness also frequently posts videos of himself working out on his Instagram page.
Fans react to Jonathan Van Ness’ vulnerability
After the news broke online, fans of Van Ness posted their thoughts on social media. Many expressed their gratitude at Van Ness for using his platform to educate others. Fans also expressed how much they appreciated Van Ness being vulnerable.
“Whoa, Jonathan Van Ness has come out at HIV+. Thank you, @jvn, for sharing your status with us. Your story will do so much to fight HIV stigma,” wrote Ella Dawson on Twitter.
Brené Brown tweeted at Van Ness, “Dear @jvn – you make the world a braver, kinder, and more gorgeous place.”
“Nothing but love and respect for @jvn, whose bravery in sharing his story will hopefully help dispel the stigma and ignorance that continues to surround HIV,” Philip Ellis tweeted.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.