‘Queer Eye’ star Jonathan Van Ness, 32, opened up about how he was diagnosed with HIV after fainting when he was 25, in an intimate and honest interview with ‘New York Times’.
Jonathan Van Ness, 32, showed his courage and strength when he decided to reveal that he’s HIV-positive in a new honest and raw interview with New York Times, which was published on Sept. 21. The Queer Eye star shared the story of how he found out his shocking diagnosis when he was tested at the age of 25 after struggling with flulike symptoms and suddenly fainting. He went to Planned Parenthood for the test and when they told him, it understandably turned his world around.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he wrote in his new memoir, Over the Top, which comes out on Sept. 24. Despite the initial sadness, Jonathan went on to explain that he now looks at things differently and considers himself to be a “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community” and hopes his honesty about his diagnosis will help shed light on the virus and any misconceptions people may have about it.
“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’” he told the outlet. The status of U.S. politics helped him to make the ultimate decision to come forward. “I do feel the need to talk about this,” he said before making it clear that it’s not easy by any means. “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.”
In addition to opening up about his HIV diagnosis, Jonathan revealed that he has struggled with addiction issues and was a victim of sexual assault. In regards to the addiction, the hairdresser says cocaine was his drug of choice and started it during his first semester of college before also smoking methamphetamine. He completed two stints in rehab but relapsed both times. His sexual abuse encounter happened with an older boy when he was a child. “For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,” he explained about the difficult experience.
Despite all the issues he’s gone through in his life, Jonathan is still known for his enthusiastic personality, but he admitted that he can’t be like that all the time and it can be tough when people want them from him all the time. “If you’re having a terrible moment or in the middle of a conversation about something serious, people don’t care,” he said. “They want their bubbly J.V.N. and to get that major selfie.”
Still, Jonathan’s openness and honesty is sure to put him in a relatable light. “These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” he said about why he decided to open up in his book and not on his show. “That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”