Jonathan Van Ness Says He's Part Of The 'Beautiful HIV-Positive Community'

"I do feel the need to talk about this," the "Queer Eye" co-star said, addressing stigmas and common misconceptions about living with HIV.

Jonathan Van Ness opened up recently about his past struggle with addiction, being a sexual abuse survivor and being a part of the 鈥渂eautiful HIV-positive community.鈥

in a profile published Saturday in The New York Times, The 鈥淨ueer Eye鈥 co-star said that he had been mentally preparing for the Sept. 24 release of his memoir, 鈥淥ver the Top鈥: 鈥淚鈥檝e had nightmares every night for the past three months because I鈥檓 scared to be this vulnerable with people.鈥

Regarding his positive HIV status, the 32-year-old said he was initially unsure about whether to publicly discuss it in the wake of the success of Netflix鈥檚 鈥淨ueer Eye,鈥 the rebooted makeover series starring the 鈥淔ab Five鈥 that premiered in February 2018.

鈥淎nd then I was like, 鈥楾he Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me,鈥欌 he said, adding: 鈥淚 do feel the need to talk about this.鈥

Van Ness told the Times he considered it important to join the public voices who are working to combat common misconceptions and stigmas about living with HIV.

Elsewhere in his interview, Van Ness shared that he was abused when he was much younger by an older boy at his church. 鈥淔or a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,鈥 he said.

He also talked about his journey growing up in Quincy, Illinois, becoming his high school鈥檚 first male cheerleader and dealing with harassment, rumors and humiliation in school.

鈥淚 was too fat, too femme, too loud and too unlovable,鈥 he said.

Van Ness also reflected on his past addiction to drugs and advertising sex for money when he encountered financial troubles in the years following high school. Now a famed hairstylist, Van Ness described fainting in a salon while with a client at age 25 as somewhat of a turning point.

Van Ness, who earned three Emmy nominations for his 2013 parody series, 鈥淕ay of Thrones,鈥 said in an Instagram post that sharing his story is the 鈥渕ost important opportunity鈥 he鈥檚 had.

鈥淚鈥檓 relieved I can speak fully about the things that shape my experience in life,鈥 he wrote. His memoir, he said, 鈥渟peaks to some extremely difficult times but it鈥檚 also filled with my humor, joy and voice & I can鈥檛 wait to share it with you fully.鈥

Read the entire Times profile here.

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