Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Jonathan Van Ness wants to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and other STIs.
Van Ness shared his diagnosis in his memoir, Over the Top, and discussed his status in an interview with The New York Times prior to the book's publication. He said he spoke out to bring attention to people living with HIV and their need for care.
"The real reason I wanted to talk about it in the book is because when I was 25 and got this, I was not someone who had this platform. I did not have access financially that I have now, and the amount of hoops I had to jump through ... it is just not appropriate," Van Ness said of finding a doctor and medication.
"We have to end the stigma around STIs and around living with HIV," he added. "We have come such a long way in the medical community, and it's interesting because 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."
Van Ness met with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi last week to discuss the Equality Act, a bill that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people. He said meeting Pelosi was a crazy experience.
"What I think is also crazy is the lack of attention to living with HIV/AIDS in America right now," Van Ness added. "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."
Van Ness previously told Today that he takes medication and sees his doctor regularly, and that HIV is undetectable in his blood today.
"You take a pill every day and it basically kills all the copies of the virus in your blood," he said. "There's been a lot of studies in the National Institute of Health in the U.K. and here at the CDC that say undetectable equals untransmittable."