Los Angeles-based TV correspondent Karl Schmid worried for years that publicly revealing his HIV status would hurt his career.
Schmid, who is known for his on-camera ABC7 coverage of the Academy Awards and other Hollywood events, cast aside his concerns in March and announced he was HIV-positive in a Facebook post. The emotional post went viral and had received more than 11,000 likes as of Monday afternoon.
In a “Today” show interview Monday, Schmid opened up about his early struggles with coming to terms with his diagnosis, as well as the impact he’d like to make as an HIV-positive public figure moving forward.
“The immediate emotion was, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve let my parents down,’” the Australian-born Schmid, who came out as gay to his family at 18, told host Megyn Kelly. “We have not had, really, a proper conversation since the ’80s and early ’90s about what it means to be HIV-positive in this day and age.”
“So many of us have this image in their head of very ill people, sometimes handcuffed to hospital beds, people in gowns and masks, doctors and nurses who refused to go near them,” he said.
“But this is HIV-positive in 2018,” he added, gesturing to himself.
Schmid said that the response to his disclose has been “phenomenal” and that he’d like to use his story to clarify lingering stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to live with HIV.
“This stigma is real,” he said. “And it’s unnecessary.”