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Jonathan Van Ness - Queer Eye

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness opens up about living with HIV

He hopes to break the stigma surrounding the virus

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness revealed that he’s living with HIV in his memoir Over the Top which also documents traumatic events in his earlier years including struggles with drug addiction, and dealing with sexual abuse.

Van Ness, who achieved astronomical fame as one of the Fab Five in Netflix’s Queer Eye – which is simply impossible to watch without crying like a tiny baby – revealed how he’s been preparing himself mentally for the release of his book this summer: “I've had nightmares every night for the past three months because I'm scared to be this vulnerable with people,” he told The New York Times.

But the 32-year-old expressed that although the issues are extremely personal and painful, they’re important to share: “It's hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven't shared publicly… these are issues that need to be talked about.” In an emotional interview with The Guardian he revealed how at the age of 25, shortly after he lost his father to cancer, he collapsed in the hair salon he was working at, only to be told by a doctor a day later that he was HIV positive. 

“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,” he told The Guardian, adding “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”.

Season four of Queer Eye came out in July of this year, while filming for season five has just got under way – Netflix says it will arrive some time in 2020.