Danny Pintauro Tells Fellow Former Child Stars Candace Cameron Bure and Raven-Symoné How He's Moving Forward After His HIV Reveal: 'I Want to Be the Example'
The former Who's the Boss? star also discussed his upcoming Beacon of Light Tour
Danny Pintauro is continuing to speak up about his campaign to educate the gay community about the dangerous consequences of crystal meth abuse during sex.
The former Who’s the Boss star, 39, revealed on Saturday’s Oprah: Where Are They Now? that he has been HIV-positive for 12 years, having contracted the virus from a sexual encounter in which he was using meth.
As PEOPLE first exclusively shared, Pintauro began using crystal meth in order to explore his sexuality after ending a long-term relationship.
On Friday, he insisted to The View‘s co-hosts: “Everyone thinks it comes back to child celebrity and that I was having a hard time in life – and, unbelievably, it doesn’t.”
Raven-Symoné, who starred on The Cosby Show from 1989 to ’92, chimed in, “Stand up for that. Let’s say that again: It’s not because we’re child stars we go through this.”
Pintauro, who chose to come out of the closet when the The National Enquirer threatened to out him in 1997, told PEOPLE that he was wasn’t ready to be the face of a community nearly two decades ago when he was still in college.
“It is definitely one of my life regrets that I wasn’t able to take that [responsibility] on,” he said. “I feel like the fates are telling me that this is my opportunity to be that beacon of light, and I’m going to do everything and anything I can to live up to that.”
Though he is now ready, Pintauro emphasized on The View that he’s not perfect – which is exactly why he is the right person to speak up for his community.
“I don’t want to be a hero. I don’t want to be the role model. I want to be the example,” he told Bure, 39, who found fame on Full House. “I want to be the example of what can happen if you get into drugs if you’re being promiscuous, if you’re not taking care of yourself, if you’re not being checked, if you’re not living a healthy, responsible lifestyle.”
Raven-Symoné, 29, later asked how Pintauro’s physical relationship with husband Wil Tabares, whom he wed in 2014, is impacted by his HIV status.
Said Pintauro, “You try not to have limits in your marriage, right? But there have to be limits for us. Have we always been 100 percent safe? No. But I’m undetectable. That means it’s hard for me to give to it to him. So we’re okay with that. We have that understanding that I’m taking care of myself. He’s taking care of himself.”
RELATED VIDEO: Danny Pintauro Reveals HIV-Positive Status and His Mission to Become a ‘Beacon of Light’ in the Gay Community
Pintauro told PEOPLE he anticipates the criticism and tough questions to come in the wake of his announcement.
“The one reaction that I know is going to happen for sure – the one that really makes me the most sad and the one that I really can’t do anything about – is the disappointment that I didn’t live up to that short list of child celebrities that haven’t gotten involved in drugs or alcohol in some way, shape or form,” he said. “The disappointment is going to hurt the most.”
And yet he also welcomes the judgment because he believes it will be the path to change: “Look, if you want to say nasty things about me or call me a meth head or whatever the nonsense may be, I’m all for it. Because if anyone’s going to call me that, then technically they’re also calling the people that I’m trying to help that. So this isn’t any negativity that I’m not ready for – and, in fact, it’s probably going to fuel my fire. The judgment’s what’s going to make the difference.”
He also told PEOPLE that “people are either going to say, ‘I told you so,’ or, ‘Look, he’s just like the rest of them.’ I think as long as I can sort of let that go and say, ‘Yeah, I am just like the rest of them, and you could be, too,’ then I’m okay with it. The idea of being gay, coming out as gay and having a meth problem is not that far-fetched of a concept. And that’s a problem.”
As for his next steps, Pintauro said on The View that he now plans to launch a “Beacon of Light” tour to make a difference in his community: “If I have to, I’ll go from pride to pride to try to get my community to say, ‘Let’s get our crap together. This is not okay with me.’ “