Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness reveals he is HIV positive

Olivia Petter
Getty Images for Netflix

Jonathan Van Ness has revealed that he is HIV positive and has been living with the condition for six years.

The Queer Eye star shares the details in his upcoming memoir, Over the Top, extracts of which have been published in The New York Times.

In the book, Van Ness recalls fainting aged 25 while he was working as a hairdresser. He visited non profit organisation Planned Parenthood the next day and tested positive for HIV.

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” the 32-year-old writes in the book.

Speaking to The New York Times, Van Ness explains he hopes his revelation will help tackle the stigma that surrounds those living with HIV, describing himself as a “member of the beautiful HIV positive community”.

“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?'

“And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatisation of the LGBT+ community thrive around me.’ I do feel the need to talk about this.”

Elsewhere in the book, Van Ness opens up about having addictions to sex and drugs, revealing he would spend hundred of dollars on cocaine and advertise sex for money while at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

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Van Ness completed two stints in rehab to kick his drug habit but relapsed after both. It wasn’t until his HIV diagnosis that Van Ness began to “clean up” his life, he writes in the book.

The Queer Eye star explained that he still drinks alcohol and occasionally smokes cannabis, but hasn’t touched any other drugs for years.

“It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly,” Van Ness told the publication of the revelations he makes in the book.

“These are issues that need to be talked about.”

The revelation comes less than a week after former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas announced he is HIV positive in a video on Twitter.

The 45-year-old, from Sarn, Bridgend, said keeping a secret had been the hardest part of the diagnosis, and has received praise from across the world for his role in tackling the stigma surrounding HIV.