“I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”
Jonathan Van Ness has opened up about his HIV diagnosis.
In an interview with The New York Times, Queer Eye’s resident hair expert said it’s “hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly,” adding, “These are issues that need to be talked about.”
He said as a survivor of sexual assault at a young age, he has a lot of “compounded trauma”.
During high school, Jonathan would spend his time in AOL chat rooms and advertised for sex on gay.com, where he would meet up with older men. After failing his first year of college, he enrolled in an 11-month beautician program.
After moving to Los Angeles to work at a Sally Hershberger salon, he was introduced to methamphetamine and his addiction to sex and drugs worsened. He was admitted to rehab twice and relapsed both times.
When he was 25-years-old, he fainted in a salon while highlighting a client’s hair. The next day at Planned Parenthood he tested positive for HIV. “That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he explained.
With his upcoming memoir, Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self Love, Jonathan wants to shatter misconceptions people have about HIV, because he is healthy and a proud “member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community”.
“When ‘Queer Eye’ came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?'” he continued.
“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.’ I do feel the need to talk about this.”
Jonathan added: “These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup. That doesn’t mean ‘Queer Eye’ is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”