‘Queer Eye’ Star Jonathan Van Ness Reveals He Is HIV-Positive, Sold Sex In Emotional New Memoir

Jonathan Van Ness attends the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Jonathan Van Ness has a new memoir coming out next week called Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, and it’s an emotional journey that reveals some of the most vulnerable details about the Queer Eye star’s life. In it, Van Ness reveals that he found out he was HIV-positive when he was 25 and turned to selling sex to fuel his drug addictions.

According to The New York Times, the 32-year-old decided to open up in order to help others learn to love themselves like he has.

“I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people,” Van Ness said. “It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly.”

But, he says, these are things that people need to discuss, so he decided to share his own difficult story.

“These are issues that need to be talked about,” he said.

One of those issues is the matter of his HIV-positive status. He says that he found out he was positive when he was 25 and passed out. He went to the local Planned Parenthood to get checked out when he was given the bad news.

“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he wrote.

When he was plucked to appear on the reboot of Queer Eye, he says that he had a hard time deciding if he should talk about the issue and share his status.

“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?'” he said.

Ultimately, the current political climate pushed him over the edge and he decided it was something he wanted to be open about.


Van Ness also opened up about his past, noting that he struggled with an addiction to cocaine and methamphetamine and was sexually abused as a child. Things got so bad that at one point, he turned to selling himself in order to pay for his addictions. He went to rehab twice to tackle his issues, but relapsed both times. Eventually, he flunked out of college and became a hairdresser, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Queer Eye star has had a difficult month. On top of being forced to be vulnerable during the release of his book, he also lost his beloved cat after it fell out of a window at his home, as The Inquisitr previously reported.