“There is NOTHING wrong with me and I am healthier than I’ve ever been.”
Broadway actor Hernando Umana has come out as HIV positive in a candid and heartfelt post on Instagram.
The 30-year-old performer – who starred in Kinky Boots and School of Rock – told his followers that he’s coming forward with his status to combat the stigma faced by those with HIV and AIDS.
He started by saying it’s the most “important, scary and liberating” post of his life.
“10 years ago, at a young young age of 20, I was diagnosed with HIV,” he said.
“I’ll never forget the moment they told me. It wasn’t possible – I had only slept with 3 people in my life! This can’t be true.
“The first words out of my mouth were “how long do I have to live?” That’s how uneducated I was about it.”
Hernando admitted that it had been “drilled” into his thoughts that gay people acquired the virus because of “wrong doings”.
“Well I’m here to shut that sh*t down,” he explained. “There is NOTHING wrong with me and I am healthier than I’ve ever been. In the last 10 years I’ve met countless of HIV positive men.
“Some of these men are so affected by the stigma that they don’t tell a soul about their status, even go as far as not taking their medication.”
He then honoured the HIV positive men who came before him, and acknowledged that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“In our extremely privileged community the stigma is more dangerous than the disease. We still have a lot of fighting to do for the people who don’t have the privilege of cost affective medication.
“So I stand on the shoulders of people like @staleypr who risked his life for us. I stand on the shoulders of the millions of people who had to suffer and die from this disease. I stand on the shoulders of the gay men who were forced out of the closet in such a scary time.”
Read Hernando’s inspiring post below: