Queer Eye’s hair guru Jonathan Van Ness reveals the moment he found out about his HIV positive status. He said the moment that pushed him to get checked was after an incident when he fainted at work while doing hair.
Last year, Netflix debuted Queer Eye, a reboot of Bravo's Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, where the Fab Five - including Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, and Bobby Berk - help people reinvent themselves - overhauling everything from their wardrobe to their apartment to their personal grooming habits. Van Ness' specialty is hair, skin, and personal hygiene; He hasn't always been the gown and heel wearing personification of confidence he is today, in his memoir Over the Top he revealed a dark past of drug abuse - being addicted to both cocaine and methamphetamine - as well as the trauma he faced after being sexually abused. He then revealed hearing the most devastating news when he was only 25-years-old, that he was HIV positive.
On his appearance on Today, he revealed the moment he decided to go get checked for HIV, seven years ago. Van Ness explained that although he wasn't feeling healthy, he went to work as usual at the salon he worked at in St. Louis. He recalled, "I was trying to push through. I had not been feeling amazing." He recalled a day like any other, he explained that he was doing one of a client's hair. He said, "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.'" Van Ness recalled, "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.'" The Queer Eye star said he decided to go home and go to bed, but the next day he went to Planned Parenthood to do the HIV test. He said, "That was where I found out that I had HIV." See the full interview below:
Van Ness explained how he felt the moment he found out about his positive HIV-status; he said, "It was the moment that you dread hearing." Due to being born in 1987, in the midst of the HIV-AIDS crisis, he said, "We lost an entire generation of people." The test turning out positive was Van Ness' biggest fear realized, He said, "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." The host of Today, Hoda Kotb, asked about how he's feeling now, physically. He explained that he's very healthy and he's taking his medication. He explained, "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." He said as long as he's adhering to the medication and maintaining regular visits with the doctor, he's totally healthy. He said, "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!"
He said since he's been taking his medications over these last 7 years since, he's been aware of his positive HIV-status, he believes he's only gotten better. Fans can continue to watch the bubbly TV personality and hair guru give heartwarming advice on Queer Eye, as well as read Van Ness' memoir Over the Top, which is out now.