An Australian-born, Los Angeles-based entertainment reporter has revealed in an emotional post on Facebook that he has been living with HIV for a decade.
Schmid, who works for ABC News in the US, opened up about his decade-long struggle over whether to disclose his HIV status, saying he’d been encouraged by media colleagues to keep it secret.
“I work in television. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse, it’s considered ‘taboo’ for people ‘like me’ to be ‘like me’,” the 37-year-old wrote in the Facebook post at the weekend, which has been shared close to 700 times.
“For 10 years I’ve struggled with ‘Do I or don’t I?’ For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘Don’t! It’ll ruin you.’
“But here’s the thing. I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted.
“I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day I’m just an average guy who wants want we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers.”
Schmid said he wanted the post to encourage others to “stand tall, and stand proud” of their own identities.
“You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy. And so long as you tell the truth, you will never have to remember anything,” he said.
“Labels are things that come and go but your dignity and who you are is what defines you.
“I know who I am, I know what I stand for and while in the past I may not have always had clarity, I do now. Love me or hate me, that’s up to you.
“For anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters,” he wrote.
“Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”
Schmid received more than a thousand supportive comments on the post since he put it up on Saturday.
“I’m sure you will inspire many others to speak out and get tested,” one follower wrote.
“Just know you are helping so many young men and women just by sharing your story. To see you living your dreams, sharing your story and having a dream job of mine only makes me know that I too can do it, HIV and all,” another wrote.