It’s been a little over a week since Jonathan Van Ness shared that he’s been living with HIV since his diagnosis at age 25.
Since then, he’s been busy. Last week, the Queer Eye star went Capitol Hill to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to discuss the Equality Act, a bill that would extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cover sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
Van Ness spoke to Jimmy Fallon about the need to smash the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and the significance of his meeting with Pelosi. “I’ve been telling a lot of people to speak truth to power and I think I have to take my turn to speak truth to power,” he said.
“We have to end the stigma around STIs and around living with HIV, we have come such a long way in the medical community. There’s just no reason with what we know and the medical advances that we’ve had in the last 20 years for anyone to be contracting HIV now,” he added.
Van Ness spoke about PrEP — or pre exposure prophylaxis — which is a medication that is taken by people who do not have HIV, which prevents you from contracting the HIV virus.
“That’s one thing I was talking to Nancy Pelosi about which was the PrEP access and coverage and the Equality Act,” said Van Ness.
When Fallon said that it was “pretty crazy” that Pelosi spoke to Van Ness about the Equality Act, Van Ness had a thoughtful response. “Yeah it is crazy but I think what’s also crazy is the lack of attention to living with HIV/AIDS in America right now,” he said. “So I’m very happy that Speaker Pelosi took that time to talk to me and, really honeys, let’s talk more about it.”