Jonathan Van Ness Reveals He’s HIV Postive

The "Queer Eye" star also opened up about his history of addiction

Jonathan Van Ness speaks onstage at The Wall Street Journal's "The Future of Everything Festival" at Spring Studios on May 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
Jonathan Van Ness speaks onstage at The Wall Street Journal's "The Future of Everything Festival" at Spring Studios on May 22, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / September 22, 2019 1:04 pm

Ahead of the release of his new memoir Over the Top (out Sept. 24th), Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness sat down with the New York Times to discuss the book and revealed that he is HIV positive.

In the book, Van Ness, 32, writes about receiving the diagnosis at the age of 25. “That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he said. Now, according to the Times, he is healthy and “describes himself as an out-and-proud ‘member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community.'”

Opening up about his status was a decision Van Ness struggled with when Queer Eye became a sensation. “When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?,” he told the publication. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the L.G.B.T. community thrive around me.’…I do feel the need to talk about this.”

Van Ness also opens up about being sexually abused by an older boy as a child and how that “planted the seed for other self-destructive behaviors.” “For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,” he said.

The grooming expert is also candid about his history with addiction, revealing his cocaine use in college and methamphetamine use in his early 20s resulted in two stints in rehab. According to the Times, he still drinks and smokes marijuana but “hasn’t done hard drugs in years.”

“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” Van Ness said. “That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”

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