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'Queer Eye' Star Jonathan Van Ness Recalls 'Fainting' The Day He Learned Of HIV-Positive Diagnosis

Jonathan Van Ness talks his HIV-positive diagnosis.

Jonathan Van Ness continues to bravely share his story about being HIV-positive.

On Tuesday, the Queer Eye star stopped by the Today show and opened up about when he learned of his life-changing diagnosis seven years ago while working on a client’s hair. The sit-down conversation comes on the heels of the Netflix star’s recently released memoir, Over The Top: A Raw Journey To Self-Love, which details his personal health journey, remarkable life story, and more.

Related: Will & Jada Pinkett Smith Stage Intervention Over Son Jaden’s ‘Drastic’ Weight Loss! 

In the interview, the 32-year-old recalled feeling under the weather while trying to execute a hair style on a longtime client. He told host Hoda Kotb:

“I was trying to push through. I had not been feeling amazing. I was doing a very good client’s hair … She was one of the three or four faithful loyal clients I had in St. Louis — it was kind of a rough go. And I was like, ‘Let me just pull this partial highlight together and be about my day.’”

It wasn’t long before the star’s flu-like symptoms took a turn for the worse. He continued:

“The next thing I knew I was on my back on the ground and I was like, ‘Where am I? This doesn’t feel good.’ So I went home and went to bed and then the next day I went to Planned Parenthood and that was where I found out that I had HIV.”

Van Ness revealed the devastating feeling that washed over him as he learned of his new status:

“It was the moment that you dread hearing. It’s the thing that I had feared, which I also talk about in the book, it was something that I had been very fearful of as a small child. I was born in 1987, so growing up in the midst of the HIV-AIDS crisis and having two parents who were at the age of seeing people just — we lost an entire generation of people.”

Jonathan Van Ness details his life with HIV and past battle with abuse and addiction in his new memoir. / (c) WENN/Adriana M. Barazza

The hair and grooming expert hopes his new book will help bring awareness to certain misconceptions about living with an HIV-positive diagnosis. Referencing recent medical studies and technological advancements about the disease, he explained:

“So there’s a thing called a viral load and that’s how much copies of the virus is in you. And you take a pill every day and it basically kills all the copies of the virus in your blood and that means you can achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. There’s been a lot of studies … that basically, undetectable equals un-transmittable.”

JVN added:

“So as long as you’re adhering to your medication and seeing your doctor every three months — I mean, I’ve picked up figure skating, I’ve done nothing but get cuter and be able to work longer and harder hours. I feel like I’m thriving!”

The star’s admission is about as powerful and inspiring as it gets. It’s refreshing to hear his optimistic attitude while sharing something so personal with the world as he continues to grow in the public realm.

The beloved TV personality, who recently came out as non-binary, admitted this experience actually helped strengthen the relationship with his mother:

“I think it’s important to note that while my mom did accept me completely, I think that acceptance, it can be a little bit of a muscle. So we didn’t start there. And I think that also relationships — and my therapist always tells me this — relationships grow through disruption.”

He continued:

“So my mom and I, there was a lot of painful stuff that happened and us being able to come back to each other is always what made our relationship stronger. But my mom is the most incredible mom ever. … [She] has given me the space and the love that I don’t know if anyone else could have given me. I’ve really put my mom through an emotional, all-around individual gymnastics championship like, 17,000 times and she’s just stuck it every time. I love her so much.”

Though he describes this time in his life as a “surreal experience,” Van Ness says he doesn’t regret sharing his truth at all. Wrapping things up on a positive note, he said:

Lin-Manuel [Miranda] messaged me on Twitter this morning and that’s always a really surreal experience, in and of itself. He was like, ‘Just sending you some love, I’m sure it’s a crazy time.’ I said, ‘Thank you so much, doing well, it’s very Twilight Zone up in here.’ So, yeah, it feels kind of Twilight Zone-ish. But I do have this very kind of calm sense of: I did this for a reason and I stand by those reasons and I think it is really important for me to speak about the things I’ve talked about in this book. I think it was the right thing to do.”

Listen to the candid conversation (below):

As we reported, JVN first revealed his diagnosis in an interview with the New York Times on Saturday.

We appreciate and applaud your continued transparency, Jonathan!

Thoughts on all this, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below).

[Image via Adriana M. Barazza/WENN]

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Sep 24, 2019 12:55pm PDT