Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness says he’s HIV positive

Jonathan Van Ness Image copyright Getty Images

Queer Eye star, Jonathan Van Ness, has revealed he’s living with HIV.

The 32-year-old opens up about his condition for the first time in his new book, Over The Top, in the hope it’ll break the stigma surrounding HIV.

The hair stylist who shot to fame on the Netflix makeover show told the New York Times: “I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people.”

He says he’s been preparing himself mentally for much of the summer for the release of the memoir in which he also talks about being an addict and a survivor of sexual abuse.

But he says they’re issues that have to be heard.

“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 says.

“These are issues that need to be talked about.”

And, he’s been flooded with messages of support from fans and friends.

In the book, he talks about how he discovered his status.

Aged 25, he fainted while he was working as a hairdresser, so he visited non-profit organisation Planned Parenthood the next day and tested positive.

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he writes.

But he says he is healthy and now describes himself as an out-and-proud “member of the beautiful HIV positive community.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Fab Five – Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown

When Queer Eye was re-booted in 2018 with the Fab Five – as Jonathan and his four friends are known – he says he didn’t know whether to come out with his status or not.

“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 stigmatisation of the LGBT community thrive around me.'”

The revelation comes less than a week after former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas announced via Twitter that he is HIV positive.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gareth Thomas after finishing Ironman Wales on 15 September 2019 in Tenby

The 45-year-old former Welsh international rugby captain said keeping a secret had been the hardest part of the diagnosis – he too has received praise from all over the world for coming out to break down barriers surrounding the condition.

Image copyright Getty Images

Jonathan Van Ness also acknowledges that the stigma around HIV is still hard to overcome.

“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” he explains.

“That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realise you’re never too broken to be fixed.”

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