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After Van Ness mentioned Warren’s support of Medicare for All, he further explained the “several things that nudged” him to publicly endorse the politician. “She is an educator. She is a policy expert. I believe that she has a way to be able to communicate the necessities of what we need moving forward,” Van Ness said.
“I should just say that no matter who you’re supporting on the Democratic side, honey, I am going to support them. I will campaign for them,” he continued. “I think everyone is better than who we have now.”
Van Ness added that it is important to relax as the campaigns pick up. “We’re gonna be moving into a lot of endorsements, honey. A lot of people are gonna be making decisions that we may not agree with or we may agree with, honey, and it’s very important to just feel that breath coming in your nostrils,” he said.
Earlier in the interview, Van Ness revealed that the Trump administration’s “demonization” of Planned Parenthood inspired him to come forward with his HIV-positive status in his new book Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love.
Following the success of Queer Eye, Van Ness realized that he had a platform to speak out on the topic. “Over the course of the time of Queer Eye coming out, we had an administration that fired the HIV AIDS Advisory Council in 2017 and has launched a systematic attack on Planned Parenthood, which is the place where I had access to testing and had it not been for Planned Parenthood, I wouldn’t have known that I was HIV positive,” he said.
Van Ness was 25 at the time of his diagnosis and didn’t have health insurance. “As I’ve witnessed this kind of demonization of people who dare to be pregnant or engage in sex [and go to] Planned Parenthood, I was like, ‘I really need to speak about this.’ Because we have states … that have new HIV infection rates that are really alarming, and it’s so sad because it doesn’t need to be,” he said.
Van Ness added that those diagnosed with HIV can live a healthy and long life when they have access to Antiretroviral Therapy, which can make HIV symptoms undetectable.
“When I was 25 and got this, I was not someone who had this platform. I did not have access financially that I have now and the amount of hoops that I had to jump through,” Van Ness said before he listed the programs he started to be able to afford the medication.
“There was, like, four, five, six layers of social safety net that I had to navigate as a 25-year-old, and it’s not appropriate,” he continued. “People that are finding out that they’re HIV positive need a doctor and they need their medication and they need to know they’re gonna have access to their medication forever, because we know that when people living with HIV maintain their undetectable viral load through ATR therapy, honey — we aren’t contagious forever.”
Van Ness added that another reason he wanted to be vocal about his HIV-positive status was to “end the stigma” around STIs and HIV.
Watch his full appearance below.
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