Jonathan Van Ness is trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The “Queer Eye” star, 35, admits he wasn’t the best at staying on top of his health before he was diagnosed with HIV 10 years ago. He opened up about the diagnosis publicly in 2019.
Van Ness tells Verywell Health‘s first-ever digital issue, the “Preventive Health” issue, “I wasn’t the most frequent preventive-doctor-visit queen. But now, I take it very seriously—I even go to the dentist regularly, honey.
“Growing up in the early ’90s, HIV was something I was very scared of,” he admits. “I had so much fear around it that I immediately dealt with my diagnosis—I got a doctor and went on medication, stat.”
He adds of adopting new exercises and eating habits to prioritize his health: “Your health is something to prioritize—it is not something to put in the back of your mind. Preventive health is chic, it’s cute, it’s gorgeous.”
Van Ness continues, “When you are a recovering drug addict, living with HIV and a survivor of abuse—there were just a lot of other fires that I was putting out before focusing on food stuff. But now, with my nutritionist, I’m really prioritizing eating throughout the day, thinking about how I feel when I eat, and checking in with my body.
“We’d wait to eat and get too hungry, and then we’d impulse order. When I get hungry, honey, I order like 11 appetizers!” he tells the publication. “I started thinking, It’s probably not chic to wait until 2 p.m. to eat and live on so much coffee. Now, I have these cool vegetable-based protein shakes and snacks that don’t make me want to hurl—and I have begun drinking less coffee. I also have been meditating for a few minutes after Angel [JVN’s trainer] and I do our weightlifting.”
Van Ness says of the need for preventive care measures in the trans community: “Right now in Alabama, a law has been passed felonizing families for providing gender-affirming health care to their kids. When we talk about preventive health care, we have to talk about the trans community. Studies show that when a trans person is given gender-affirming health care, their lives are longer and healthier.
“They may seek out hormones on the black market or even have unsafe surgeries. This is all because people in certain states hate the existence of trans people. But being trans is being human—and health care is a human right.
“Do the research. Have conversations that make you uncomfortable. Get involved. Everyone needs to take on these fights—honey, it’s time.”
Van Ness says of the need for inclusive sex education: “In many areas of the country, we refuse to teach young people about sex—especially from a queer perspective.
“We are failing young people by not teaching them how they can have a healthy sex life and how they can take preventive measures to protect themselves.”