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Jonathan Van Ness Revealed He Is HIV-Positive

In an interview with the New York Times about his upcoming memoir, Over The Top, he said that he is healthy and a proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community.”

Last updated on September 21, 2019, at 3:55 p.m. ET

Posted on September 21, 2019, at 11:57 a.m. ET

Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images

Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye at the VMAs.

Jonathan Van Ness, one of the stars of Queer Eye, revealed that he is a survivor of sexual abuse, has a history of heavy drug use, and is HIV-positive in an interview with the New York Times. The interview discussed his upcoming memoir, Over the Top, which details his journey from growing up in Illinois to working as a hairdresser in Los Angeles and getting cast on Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye.

In the interview, Van Ness reveals he was abused as a child by an older boy and was a victim of homophobic bullying at his school. In his early twenties, he became addicted to methamphetamine and went to rehab twice. He now drinks and smokes marijuana but is sober from any hard drugs.

At 25, he went to Planned Parenthood after fainting from flu-like symptoms while working at a hair salon. A test there revealed he was HIV-positive. In his book, he writes, “that day was just as devastating as you’d think it would be.”

In his interview with the New York Times, he said that he is healthy and now a proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community.”

The Netflix reboot of the ‘00s show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy made Van Ness a star and a fan favorite for his charisma and compassionate treatment of the show’s guests. In a recent interview with Out, he came out as gender-nonconforming and nonbinary.

On his Instagram, Van Ness wrote, "I’m relieved I can speak fully about the things that shape my experience in life."

There was an outpouring of support for Van Ness following the New York Times article.

JVN came out as HIV positive and I’m very emotional.

All our love to @jvn, who’s told the world he’s a member of the “beautiful HIV-positive community”. Thank you Jonathan for sharing your story - you’re proof that you can live healthily and fabulously with HIV 🙌

It used to be excruciating for me to tell potential partners about my HIV status. Anyone living with HIV can relate. @jvn publicly opening up about his status is a giant step toward making those conversations a little bit easier. Another stake through the heart of stigma. ❤️🙏

Thank you @jvn. You are helping so many in the HIV+ community by being your beautiful self.


The year the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy series debuted was misstated in an earlier version of this post.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.