In his new memoir, the Queer Eye star reveals that he tested positive for HIV when he was 25

By Christina Dugan and Helen Murphy
September 24, 2019 09:23 AM
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Karamo Brown is supporting his Queer Eye costar.

Days after Jonathan Van Ness revealed that he is HIV-positive, Brown told reporters backstage after Dancing with the Stars Monday night that he is “proud” of his castmate.

“This is something he shared with us many moons ago, so this is something we knew was coming, we’re just proud of him,” Brown, 38, said. “The five of us, what we continue to try and do is share our stories so that other people can not feel alone and feel inspired.”

“I did it in my memoir, Tan [France] did it in his, we do it on the show and Jonathan is just an extension of that,” he continued. “In a new way, I’m just happy and proud of him.”

In his new memoir Over the Top, Van Ness shares that he tested positive for HIV when he was 25, after fainting while working on a client’s hair, The New York Times reported over the weekend.

Karamo Brown and Jonathan Van Ness
Presley Ann/Getty

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” the 32-year-old reality star writes in the book, according to the newspaper.

Van Ness’ other Queer Eye costars supported him after he wrote about the Times article and his memoir on Instagram on Saturday, saying that sharing his story with the world “is the most important opportunity I’ve ever had.”

“The first article about the book came out today from the @nytimes & I’m relieved I can speak fully about the things that shape my experience in life,” wrote Van Ness. “The book speaks to some extremely difficult times but it’s also filled with my humor, joy and voice & I can’t wait to share it with you fully. Thanks so much for your support so far, it means the world.”

“Love you proud of you ❤️,” Antoni Porowski commented, while France wrote, “LOVE YOU, JACKI.”

“Love you baby boy,” Bobby Berk added. “So proud of you ♥️♥️♥️♥️.”

Jonathan Van Ness/Instagram
The cast of Queer Eye
Patrick Lewis/Starpix for Netflix/REX/Shutterstock

Van Ness, who describes himself as a healthy and proud “member of the beautiful HIV positive community,” also explained to the Times why he chose to disclose his status.

“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’” he told the newspaper. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me.’”

“I do feel the need to talk about this,” he added.

“These are all difficult subjects to talk about on a makeover show about hair and makeup,” Van Ness continued. “That doesn’t mean Queer Eye is less valid, but I want people to realize you’re never too broken to be fixed.”