Jonathan Van Ness, one of the five presenters of ‘Queer Eye’,  revealed for the first time in an interview with the New York Times that he is infected with HIV. Van Ness was diagnosed at the age of 25 after he fainted and had flu-like symptoms.

The hair stylist, one of the five protagonists of the popular Netflix series, makes the unveiling in a chapter of his book  “ Over the Top,” which is now released Tuesday. “That day was just as devastating as you would think,” he says. He was suspected when he fainted at the age of 25 in the salon where he worked. The next day he went to a clinic for a test. 

Later in the interview, Van Ness also talks about his fight against addictions, partly caused by the sexual abuse he experienced in his youth. He reveals that he started using cocaine during his first semester at the university and that he later started to smoke methamphetamine. During that period, Van Ness prostituted himself to pay for drugs. He also had himself admitted twice to a rehab clinic, but fell back just as often.

Van Ness hesitated for a long time to put his HIV status in his book. “I have had nightmares every night for the past three months because I am afraid of being so vulnerable to people,” he admits. “It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be.” The hairstylist does consider himself a proud “member of the wonderful HIV-positive community” and hopes that his openness on the subject helps to prevent misconceptions. “When ‘Queer Eye’ came out, I didn’t necessarily want to talk about my status. But now I have the need to talk about this. ”