'Queer Eye's' Jonathan Van Ness Comes Out as HIV Positive
Jonathan Van Ness, 32, has been riding a wave of success as one of the stars of the hit Netflix reboot "Queer Eye," but he says he's also been dealing with stress over just how open and honest he should be about who he is.
Telling The New York Times he's been having "nightmares every night for the past three months because I'm scared to be this vulnerable," Van Ness reveals in his new memoir "Over the Top" that he found out he is HIV positive at age 25.
"When 'Queer Eye' came out, it was really difficult because I was like, 'Do I want to talk about my status?,'" he says in the profile by Alex Hawgood. "And then I was like, 'The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me.' I do feel the need to talk about this."
Healthy and a part of what he calls the "beautiful HIV-positive community," he is also candid in the book about beating a meth addiction in his 20s after two visits to rehab, and about being a survivor of sexual abuse as a child that was inflicted upon him by an older boy.
"For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age," he says, "we have a lot of compounded trauma." The abuse occurred during a play session with a boy from his church, and it led him to self-destructive behaviors, including binge-eating and hooking up with adult men via AOL chat rooms when he was still underage.
His memoir — subtitled "A Raw Journey of Self-Love" — is one way he is confronting his demons, and also attempting to share the "gorgeous beauty moments" that have helped him get to where he is today.
"I want people to realize you're never too broken to be fixed," he says.