Jonathan Van Ness Opens Up About His Drug Addiction, Being HIV Positive, and Selling Sex

Alanna Lauren Greco

From Cosmopolitan

  • Jonathan Van Ness is releasing a memoir next week.

  • In it, he talks about struggling with drug addiction, his H.I.V. diagnoses, and being sexually assaulted as a child.  

If you thought that Demi Moore revealing that Ashton Kutcher cheated on her (!) was the biggest truth bomb that we were getting from a celeb memoir this month, think again, because Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness is coming out with a book next week, and it sounds intense.

In an interview with The New York Times, Jonathan talks about his book Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love, and how it reveals a side of him that we've never seen before. Jonathan opens up about being sexually assaulted as a child by an older boy from his church, saying, "for a lot of people who are survivors of sexual assault at a young age, we have a lot of compounded trauma."

Jonathan felt like he didn't fit in at high school, and he took to finding older men to have sex with via AOL chat rooms as a teen. When he left high school for college, he started doing cocaine, and when he ran out of money for drugs, Jonathan began advertising sex for cash. Eventually, he graduated from cocaine to smoking methamphetamine in his early 20s, going to rehab twice and relapsing both times.

Photo credit: Matt Winkelmeyer - Getty Images

Along the way, Jonathan flunked out of college, went to beautician school, and became a hairdresser. But he was still battling drug addiction, and after visiting Planned Parenthood for flulike symptoms one day, he was diagnosed with H.I.V., which was "devastating."

It sounds like none of this has been easy for Jonathan to share—"I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people," he says. But he's come a long way, and now he says that he hasn't done hard drugs in years and describes himself as a "member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community."

So I guess this is a reminder that you never really know what someone has gone through or how far they're come. And bravo to Jonathan for so bravely sharing his story!

 

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