Jonathan Van Ness is out here doing the work.
On the heels of the Queer Eye grooming expert calling out the Trump administration over its ongoing attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, he’s now spreading helpful information like U=U — which means that those living with HIV that are undetectable, can not transmit the virus to others.
“People think, well he has has HIV, is he ok? Is he sick, how’s he feeling?” Today Show host Hoda Kotb asked Van Ness in an interview that aired today. “There’s something I think you want to dispel out there. You take the medicine and [the virus] is not detectable in your body.”
“That’s right!” Van Ness said. “So, the term undetectable means there’s a thing called your viral load and that’s how much the virus is in you. You take a pill every day and it basically kills all the copies of the virus in your blood, and that means you can achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. There’s been a lot of studies in the National Institute of Health in the UK and here, with the CDC that basically say undetectable is untransmittable.
“So as long as you’re adhering to your medication, and seeing your doctor every three months,” the hair stylist continued, “I’ve picked up figure skating! I’ve done nothing but get cuter and be able to work harder, and longer hours.”
And what the Queer Eye Fab Five member is saying is true: In 2017, the Center of Disease Control, finally signed on board with the rest of the HIV/AIDS community in stating that undetectable means untransmittable. At the time, nearly half of all people living with HIV in the world were undetectable.
“I really just feel like I’m thriving,” he said. We certainly agree.
In the interview, Van Ness also talks about his book where he discusses being diagnosed with the virus at 25. “When I got HIV, I felt that I wasn’t allowed to be seen as sexy or desirable,” he wrote. “I had to work so much harder to fall in love with and accept where I’d come to in my life, and forgive myself for all the decisions I’d made to get there.”
But now, since first revealing his status in a New York Times feature, he said that coming out so publicly has felt like “Twilight Zone-ish,” and that he has a “calm sense of: I did this for a reason and I stand by that reason.”