The reality TV star revealed he had tested positive for the HIV virus, the precursor to AIDS, in an interview with The New York Times.
Admitting he had "nightmares" about making his diagnosis public, the 32-year-old told the publication he is a "member of the beautiful HIV-positive community" and confessed he wanted to speak openly about the condition because "there are issues that need to be talked about."
"When 'Queer Eye' came out, it was really difficult because I was like, 'Do I want to talk about my status?' 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.' "
In his new memoir "Over the Top", which is released on Tuesday, September 24, the star claims he was sexually abused by an older boy when he was a child, resulting in him suffering from drug problems. And in the subsequent interview, he recalled the "compounded trauma" that sexual assault victims experience, and explained it "planted the seed for other self-destructive behaviours."
Van Ness added that, after the abuse, he met up with older men, started taking drugs, and advertised sex for money on LGBTQ networking site Gay.com. However, he has now beaten his drug problems and has not used for years after visiting rehab twice.