Van Ness, one of the “Fab Five” from Netflix’s “Queer Eye,” discusses his diagnosis — along with his past drug addiction and other reckless behavior in “Over the Top,” due out Tuesday.
The 32-year-old grooming expert writes that he struggled immensely growing up, particularly due to backlash against his “feminine identity.”
He was his high school’s first male cheerleader — and people would throw bottles at him from the stands, he says.
At 19, he skipped his senior year of high school to start college early at the University of Arizona, where he blew his allowance on cocaine. Instead of asking his mom for more money, he instead placed ads for sex online.
He flunked out of school. Van Ness writes that he then got his beautician certificate and moved to LA. There, his drug addiction got worse, and he got hooked on methamphetamine.
He went to rehab twice, relapsing both times, he says.
At 25, he fainted in a salon while working on a client’s hair. The next day, he visited a Planned Parenthood health center to take care of his flu-like symptoms. Instead, he found out he was HIV-positive.
“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” Van Ness writes, according to the New York Times.
Since then, Van Ness — who now describes himself as a “member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community” has recovered from his addiction and is healthy. He no longer does hard drugs, though he still drinks and smokes marijuana.
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