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‘Queer Eye’ Star Jonathan Van Ness Reveals “Devastating” HIV-Positive Diagnosis

Anita Bennett

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Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness is going public about his past drug use, HIV-positive status, and being sexually abused as a child.

The reality TV personality sat down with The New York Times for an interview published Saturday, ahead of the release of his memoir, Over the Top.

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“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 said in the interview, adding, “These are issues that need to be talked about.”

Van Ness, 32, reveals in the book he was diagnosed as HIV positive at age 25 after fainting at a hair salon and going to Planned Parenthood to be treated for what he thought was the flu.

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he writes in the book.

He says by going public, he hopes to dispel some of the myths about being HIV-positive.

“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?,” he explains. “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.’”

Van Ness also reveals in the book that he was molested as a child by an older boy from his church.

“For a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma,” he explains.

He details the trauma, and engaging in risky behavior, including smoking methamphetamine, and spending the allowance money his mother sent him for college to buy cocaine.

Rather than asking for more money, he turned to Gay.com, a chat and personals site, to advertise for sex for money.

Van Ness flunked out of college his first year. He later realized hair styling was his calling and enrolled in beauty school.

He says he has cleaned up his act and hasn’t done hard drugs in years.

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