An ABC News reporter has come out as HIV-positive in attempt to tackle the stigma which still surrounds the virus.
Karl Schmid, a correspondent for KABC Channel 7 in Los Angeles, opened up about his HIV status earlier this month in an emotional Facebook post that quickly went viral, NewNowNext reports.
The 37-year-old, who normally covers human interest and entertainment stories, shared an image of him wearing a t-shirt promoting the AIDS memorial Instagram page, which is dedicated to the people lost to the virus.
In the post, Schmid wrote: "Hi. I'm a 37-year-old HIV positive man who has been positive for almost 10 years. I work in television. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse, it's considered 'taboo' for people 'like me' to be 'like me.'
"For 10 years I've struggled with 'do I or don't I'? For 10 years the stigma and industry professionals have said, 'Don't! It'll ruin you.' But here's the thing. I'm me. I'm just like you.
"I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted. I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day, I'm just an average guy who wants what we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family, to be encouraged by our peers."
He continued: "So here's what I say, stand tall and stand proud. You can't make everybody happy but you can make you happy. And so long as you tell the truth, you will never have to remember anything.
"Labels are things that come and go but your dignity and who you are is what defines you.
"I know who I am, I know what I stand for and while in the past I may not have always had clarity, I do now. Love me or hate me, that's up to you.
"But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters."
The reporter added: "Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise. I'm Karl Schmid, and I'm an HIV-positive man!"
Schmid, originally from Australia, then tweeted out yesterday (March 25) that he was overwhelmed with support from fans.
He wrote: "Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. for those of you who dm'd with your stories THANK YOU."
Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU. Tonight, I’m hanging out with my best friend and enjoying the talent that is @taylormacnyc in DTLA pic.twitter.com/6X07KVsOaN— Karl Schmid (@KarlJSchmid) March 25, 2018