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‘Queer Eye’ star Jonathan Van Ness is HIV-positive

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Los Angeles, Sep 22 (IANS) “Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness has opened up about his struggle with drug addiction, being sexually abused as a child and revealing that he is HIV positive.

The reality TV star opened up being an out-and-proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community” in an interview to The New York Times, ahead of the release of his memoir “Over the Top”.

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

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He has opened up about his life in the memoir, which will be a stark contrast to the “the effervescent, gregarious majestic centre-part-blow-dry cotton-candy figure-skating queen” he is known for on the hit show “Queer Eye”.

“I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people,” Van Ness said.

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In the book, Van Ness, 32, reveals that 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.

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He hopes to bring attention to “gorgeous beauty moments” presented in his memoir and aims to tackle the misperceptions of living with HIV.

“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’.”

Van Ness shared that the sexual abuse took place when he was younger and an older boy from church took advantage of him during a make-believe play session, reports dailymail.co.uk.

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

He struggled with self-esteem because of the abuse and also had difficulty living in the conservative Illinois town. As a result, he went on a self-destructive path, spending hours in AOL chat rooms and meeting up to have sex with older men.

Van Ness also started smoking methamphetamine and spending his college allowance money to buy cocaine. Instead of asking for more money, he turned to Gay.com, a chat and personals site, to advertise for sex for money.

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

–IANS

sug/ksk

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