Jonathan Van Ness Opens Up About Living With HIV And The Stigma That Surrounds It

Jonathan Van Ness is the first solo model who isn’t female to cover Cosmopolitan UK in 35 years.

The “Queer Eye” star, who identifies as non-binary, not only makes history with the issue, he opens up about his HIV diagnoses.

After first revealing he has the disease in September, Van Ness talks about living with the disease in the cover story interview.

“This is only the beginning. I’m quickly realizing that there is still so much misunderstanding, so much sensationalizing of living with HIV. The stigma and the difficulty around the process of getting treatment is creating that. My work has only really just begun,” the “Queer Eye” star told the magazine.

Shortly after coming out with his disease, an old interview where Van Ness and the rest of the Fab Five are talking about Bernie Sanders was brought up. It was Van Ness’ statement, “And Ronald Reagan, could he be bothered to mention HIV/AIDS? No. But he could be bothered to put some gel in his hair” that gained backlash.

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He addressed the controversy surrounding his comments at the time, but further expanded his explanation while speaking with the magazine.

“Diane von Furstenberg says, ‘Knowledge sometimes is not facts, it’s context,’ and that’s true. Because if you only knew that one minute of that one video that you saw of me? I’d hate me too,” Van Ness said.

“I really would,” he added. “If I saw the headlines of ‘’Queer Eye’ star reveals devastating HIV diagnosis’ and then, two days later, you see this one-minute video of me cracking jokes about Ronald Reagan’s treatment of people living with HIV, I would hate me too. But they also don’t understand that I’m someone who is living with HIV; that that was the first press tour I’d ever done; that I’m also a comedian who makes jokes out of stuff because if I didn’t make jokes about it, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. I have always used comedy as a way to soothe myself and move forward.”

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Another regret of Van Ness’, on a significantly lighter note, is turning down going to a Madonna concert with Taylor Swift.

“The other day, Taylor [Swift] and I were making soup and she asked me to go to a Madonna concert with her. That was the day before my 5am flight to London to come here for this shoot and my tour. I knew it would be an amazing experience. But also… my nervous system,” he revealed before noting that self-care comes first otherwise his “candle will burn out.”

“Yoga and meditation practice” as well as weed also help him relax. ” I mean with Brexit around the corner, henny, you all need something.”

American born Van Ness also shared his love of British men.

“I mean shiver me f*cking timbers. Men in Britain are next-level gorgeous,” he said to the magazine. “I like that they just cut you off if it’s not working. I mean, cut me off like a dead foot if it’s not working. Let me go.”

The January issue of Cosmopolitan is on sale from Dec. 5.

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