During last week’s episode of “Project Runway All Stars,” fan-favorite contestant Victor Luna provided the show with one of its most major and heartfelt moments when he revealed that he’s HIV-positive. The revelation immediately struck a chord and pulled at the heartstrings of fans and now Luna is opening up about why he chose to reveal his status to the world on TV.
During his bold confession during a segment done with the advocacy group Greater Than AIDS, Luna spoke about the stigma that still plagues people with HIV and he claimed that ignorance is more of a problem than hate and malice.
“The stigma is not the fact that its people being mean, it’s the fact that they don’t know. Within our community, whether it is gay or straight, speaking out can come in different ways. Whether it’s somebody saying something bad about HIV and you letting them know how it really is, speaking out directly and talking about your HIV status like I did, or guiding people in the right direction,” he said.
In a revealing blog post for HuffPost Gay, Luna explained that he discovered he was HIV-positive seven years ago, but it took him three more years to deal with his heartbreak and shame over the diagnosis to come terms with his live as a positive person and continue living his dreams.
“When I was approached to be on this current season of Project Runway: All Stars, I decided that this time, I wanted to be seen for who I truly am,” he explained. “For those who remember me during Project Runway, Season 9, I was very protective of my feelings and how I was portrayed on camera. Many thought I was just quiet, but in truth, I was just hiding from the world. This season, I wanted to let it all out and be myself. You’ve seen me laugh, cry and openly share my feelings, but I haven’t shared everything — until now. To complete this process with myself, and to truly feel free, I chose to reveal my HIV status. In doing this, I have come to accept the virus inside me, and I now know this little thing isn’t going to stop me anymore.”
As a public figure, and as an “All Star,” it was my duty to be one of the many people to show that you are not alone, and you can still follow your dreams. I’ve shared my status with my family and my partner and all who embraced me with love and open arms. It was like lifting a huge boulder off my shoulders. I finally feel completely proud of the person I am,” he added.
We applaud Luna for being so brave and helping to erase the shame, hate and stigma surrounding an HIV diagnosis by simply sharing his story, his dignity and his truth.
But Luna isn’t alone. Check out some other “Project Runway” stars who shared their HIV status below. – nicholas robinson