Jonathan Van Ness wants you to know what ‘U=U’ means


jonathan van ness queer eye hiv positive status nbc today show hiv undetectable
Photo: NBC

Jonathan Van Ness has explained the important HIV message U=U – undetectable equals untransmittable – in a new interview.

The Queer Eye star publicly opened up about his HIV status in a recent New York Times interview. He also writes about his experience of living with HIV in his new memoir, Over the Top.

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Now JVN has explained the important HIV prevention message U=U on the Today Show in the US.

Today host Hoda Kotb asked JVN, “People think, well he has has HIV, is he okay? Is he sick, how’s he feeling?

“There’s something I think you want to dispel out there. You take the medicine and [the virus] is not detectable in your body.”

JVN replied, “That’s right. The term undetectable means there’s a thing called your viral load. That’s how much of the virus is in you.

“You take a pill every day. It basically kills all the copies of the virus in your blood, and that means you can achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load.”

Van Ness highlighted studies by the National Institute for Health Research in the UK and the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in the US.

The studies show that HIV is untransmittable by people with an undetectable viral load.

“[You stay undetectable] as long as you’re adhering to your medication, and seeing your doctor every three months,” JVN explained.

“I mean, I’ve picked up figure skating. I’ve done nothing but get cuter and be able to work harder, and longer hours.

“I really just feel like I’m thriving.”

How Jonathan Van Ness discovered he had HIV

Jonathan Van Ness said he discovered his HIV status when working at a hair salon at age 25. He said he fainted while working on a client’s hair. The next day a doctor told him he tested positive for HIV.

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“That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be,” he said.

But the 32-year-old said he wants to shatter misconceptions around the virus. He said he is now healthy, undetectable and a proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community”.

“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?’” he told the Times.

“And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatisation of the LGBT community thrive around me.’

“I do feel the need to talk about this.”

JVN’s co-stars, fans and fellow celebrities reacted on social media with an outpouring of love at the interview.

Read more: AskDocQ: U=U means if a person with HIV is undetectable, they can’t pass it on

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