Words: Steve Brown
Jonathan Van Ness reveals his is HIV-positive.
The Queer Eye grooming expert and former Attitude cover star – who came out as non-binary earlier this year but still uses the he/him pronouns – is set to release his memoir, ‘Over the Top’ he revealed he is living with HIV but hopes he can end stigma around the virus.
In his memoir – which an extract was published in the New York Times – he revealed he was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 25 after fainting at his job.
He then went to Planned Parenthood with flu-like symptoms and writes in his memoir: “That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be.”
Jonathan then goes on to say how it was hard for him to be open about certain things but said there are ‘issues that need to be talked about’.
He continued: “I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people.
“It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly. There are issues that need to be talked about.”
Jonathan then spoke to The Guardian and said he hopes revealing his diagnosis will ‘move the conversation’ forward and end the stigma around HIV.
He said: “It occurred to me: what if everything I’ve ever been through was preparing me for this moment – to be strong enough to share this, and to share it on my own terms.
“Part of that for me is to process what’s happened, but the bigger part is that I wanted to do something to move the conversation forward in a meaningful way around HIV/Aids, and what it is to live with HIV, and to humanise and normalise a lot of the things I talk about.
“I’m talking slow because I’m trying not to cry.”