On Friday (September 20), the New York Times published a feature with the reality star, in which Van Ness details enduring homophobia, being a sexual abuse survivor, as well as battling an addiction to methamphetamine that led to two stints in rehab. All of this and more appear in the 32-year-old hairdresser's forthcoming memoir, Over the Top.
In his book, Van Ness remembers visiting Planned Parenthood at the age of 25 after experiencing flu-like symptoms that caused him to faint on the job. To his dismay, a test revealed he was HIV-positive. “That day was just as devastating as you’d think it would be," he writes of the revelation.
“I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people. There are issues that need to be talked about," Van Ness admitted to the publication, but expressed he is healthy and happy to be a "member of the beautiful HIV-positive community."
Since telling his story, Van Ness has been met with an outpouring of love and support from fans.
"Nothing but love and respect for @jvn, whose bravery in sharing his story will hopefully help dispel the stigma and ignorance that continues to surround HIV," one fan tweeted.
Another Twitter user added: "It used to be excruciating for me to tell potential partners about my HIV status. Anyone living with HIV can relate. @jvn publicly opening up about his status is a giant step toward making those conversations a little bit easier. Another stake through the heart of stigma."
Van Ness later reacted to the overwhelming response in an Instagram Story, writing: “Just wanted to say thank you so much, especially [to] my queer family and countless other friends and family for reaching out today. Not only to the people I have known but everyone who has showered me with grace.”
Photo: Getty Images