Danny Pintauro Reveals HIV-Positive Status and His Mission to Become a ‘Beacon …

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Child star Danny Pintauro who starred in Who’s the Boss? reveals he has been HIV-positive for 12 years in emotional Oprah interview.

Pintauro, who grew up in the spotlight as Jonathan Bower on the ‘80s sitcom Who’s the Boss?, sat down with Oprah Winfrey to let go of a secret he’s been harboring for 12 years. “I wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but I wasn’t ready—I’m ready now, that I’m HIV positive, and I have been for 12 years,” Pintauro told her on Oprah: Where Are They Now. “It’s just a big deal. The 39-year-old star – who played Jonathan Bower, the son of Judith Light’s character Angela in the sitcom – has confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he found out he was HIV-positive in March 2003. “[But] there was a sense of relief … It’s backwards. It’s not something that people are talking about right now.” Pintauro wants to do his part to change that and hopes to become an activist for the LGBT community, saying he “missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through because I was outed.” “It was our first date and we hadn’t even kissed and it was the first thing I told him. We need to be the best we can – safe and healthy.” Pintauro’s experimentation with meth began after he ended a two-year relationship and wanted to pursue facets of his sexuality that had previously “terrified” him.

For him – as for many members of the gay community – it was an easy, if dangerous, fix. “You suddenly lose all your inhibitions, you have no limits, you have no boundaries, you feel invincible. He said it was Judith Light, who played his on-screen mother Angela on Who’s The Boss? from 1984 until 1992, who convinced him to speak to the press openly after a tabloid reporter approached him and said they would publish an article with or without his involvement. In that subculture of BDSM and bondage, it makes sense that a drug like that would go hand in hand with testing your limits and trying new things and getting dark and dirty and sexy and all of that,” says the former child star, 39. “So unfortunately those lifestyles have gotten intertwined, and that’s exactly how I got into it in the first place.” Pintauro says he can pinpoint the moment when he contracted HIV in February 2003 to a sexual encounter when he was using meth. You’ve spent so much time terrified that you’re going to get it, and then you have it,” he explained. “You don’t have to be terrified anymore.” As the previously taped interview was airing, Pintauro posted a photo with his husband of one year, Wil Tabares, on Instagram, writing, “Last meal as a nobody. 😉 first meal as an activist. #lifelovelive.”

At the time of Pintauro’s diagnosis HIV was not the ‘death sentence’ it used to be due to the introduction of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), which increase the lifespan of people with the infection and limit the risk of them transmitting it to others. ‘It’s a weird combination of feelings. It’s no good, no good.” “From my perspective, I had been trying everything I could to make sure I was safe,” he says. “If I had done anything that I thought was unacceptable, I would have freaked out so badly. I should just give up on trying to find someone.’ ” Though his diagnosis came in the midst of increasing success for medical treatments and during a time when the disease was continually losing its stigma, Pintauro says, “There is so much negativity surrounding HIV and just the concept of it, that a lot of people just aren’t comfortable with it.

They might say they are, but in the back of their mind, they’re terrified of it.” “And that’s okay,” he says. “I can’t force them to not be terrified of something. You can live a healthy life, you can have a happy life.” He hopes to continue destigmatizing the disease and opening up dialogue: “For me, HIV is the new closet in the sense that, until we all come out of the HIV closet and start talking about it … we [won’t become] more accepted.” Pintauro says he’s “never really been an activist,” but he’s now ready to face any reaction to both his past crystal meth use and his HIV-positive status. “I’m coming at this with good intentions and with big goals,” he says. “My goal is to literally go door to door making a difference somehow with both of these topics for the next year.” But having faced both sides of the public’s response to his coming-out, he anticipates that many “people are either going to say, ‘I told you so,’ or, ‘Look, he’s just like the rest of them.’ ” He continues, “I think as long as I can sort of let that go and say, ‘Yeah, I am just like the rest of them, and you could be, too,’ then I’m okay with it. Back when the AIDS crisis was happening … back when we weren’t really socially acceptable, we still took good care of each other because we only had each other.

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