After being released as HIV-positive on nationwide televison, this previous suiter has a great deal to say.
Whenever Eric Leonardos discovered he was running late for a presentation at work out he was HIV-positive at a small clinic in Austin, Texas. The then-25-year-old locks stylist ended up being obligated to pull himself together for enough time to perform right right back and deliver it, and then collapse within the hallway only a little later, over come with feeling.
A decade later on, Leonardos happens to be one away from a number of truth television movie stars to come down as HIV-positive on national television вЂ” something we’re yes he did not alone foresee sitting in that hallway. Among the suitors on Logo’s smash hit, Finding Prince Charming, he made a decision to reveal his status publicly, broadening the discussion around HIV understanding in main-stream news.
The constant rejection from men, his opinion on hookup apps, what celebrity he thinks would make the perfect husband, and why he’s not a fan of Charlie Sheen in an exclusive interview with Plus, he shares even more about his experience as a gay man living with HIV, including how his mom found out about his status after finding his meds.
That which was the journey that is emotional needed to proceed through to just accept your good status, and exactly how do you bring that towards the show?
I did son’t feel just like i possibly could inform anyone. I happened to be afraid if work learned that possibly I would personally get kicked down their insurance. I happened to be scared of the way I would definitely spend the money for medical practitioner bills. Exactly just exactly How have always been we likely to spend the money for medicine? All those things began drifting in my own head [like], What I’m going to accomplish now? Who is likely to love me personally now? Dating as a homosexual man is hard enough вЂ” being rejected вЂ” and often wanting to maneuver through that is the right individual for your needs. And from now on this?
you had been in Texas, right?
We lived in small Austin, Texas and each homosexual guy We knew knew one another, therefore at first it absolutely was fear. Overwhelming fear came in, and my initial effect ended up being, Okay we got this, alright, just just exactly what do i have to do now? We instantly began gong to treatment plus it actually started initially to aim me personally in direction of my journey that is spiritual and personally i think about my knowledge of Jesus, as well as the means the planet works, and my invest it вЂ” just just what my function is. Finding I was riddled with fear out I was HIV-positive, at the beginning. But sooner or later it absolutely was a mome personallynt that is awakening me personally. And it also actually made me personally stop and state, вЂњYou know very well what, just what do i got eventually to lose? Let us simply just simply take an opportunity, let’s make a move. Go big or go back home.вЂќ
I experienced a while in the 1st 12 months [of discovering their status] I didn’t know how to deal with the rejection from people, you know, being honest about being positive that I tried dating a little bit and. Each time i might date some body so we’d get compared to that destination where it had been time and energy to inform or time for you to reveal, you realize, the rejection plus the rejection and also the rejection. It absolutely was actually just starting to arrive at me personally. I called my buddy and then he had been like, вЂњCome [to L.A.]. Individuals listed below are more educated. They determine what means that are undetectable. They are perhaps perhaps not afraid from it, people here learn how to protect on their own. They are perhaps not ignorant. There are also more opportunities to get results for you.” We found L.A. We told people We arrived here to raised my profession, but really i am right here become accepted because of the community around me personally.
just How essential can it be to possess HIV-positive people you’re first diagnosed around you when?
We don’t understand if i’d are in a position to make it through if i did son’t have that of course We was not capable of being truthful with this one specific buddy. I happened to be in a position to inform see your face and additionally they had the ability to help me personally and provide me personally way. We believe I really could have slipped as a actually dark spot because this friend, he actually held my hand and took fee. He called the doctor out I was almost paralyzed with not knowing what to do, just scared for me, because when I found. During those times, ten years ago, the primary message online wasn’t, вЂњYou will live an extended, complete, pleased life in the event that you care for yourself and take medication.вЂќ The message ended up being, вЂњWe think you’ll be OK.вЂќ
Having a great medical practitioner is nevertheless critical.
Perhaps the medical practitioner we went along to had been a small shaming. We finished up employing a doctor that is different We felt much more comfortable with, and I also surely could be extremely available in regards to the method We lived my entire life. I became comfortable speaing frankly about intercourse and discussing such a thing during my life that has been vital that you my treatment. And I also believe that is actually crucial, the partnership you’ve got along with your physician, to share with them any such thing, because there are countless people out here that have many different practices that are sexual. And to be able to likely be operational and upfront along with your physician may be the easiest way to deal with your self, to safeguard yourself, also to protect others.
Specially nowadays, whenever research reports have shown this one in three health practitioners never know about PrEP even. Let me know a bit that is little the manner in which you arrived on the scene to your friends and relations. just exactly How did you plan it?
I happened to be home that is staying the holiday season. My mom discovered a few of my medicine up for grabs, and she looked it and knew just just what it absolutely was. Me about it, I tried to beat around the bush when she asked. A long period later on, I happened to be like, OK, i must speak about this. I have to tell my loved ones that section of me given that it’s not every one of whom i will be, but its truly component of what is changed the trajectory of my life. It was mostly on special occasions вЂ” holidays, somebody’s birthdays, special events вЂ” and the last thing you want to do is bring a dark could over it and ruin the week whenever i’d go home and see my family. It was known by me will cause them to become feel uncomfortable, but years proceeded and I started teach them. We begun to feel much more comfortable because I happened to be like, вЂњOK, they are educated about any of it now. Why don’t we you need to be available and truthful about every thing during my life.вЂќ
It absolutely was also about being confident with myself on all amounts, not only around HIV. It was similar to, вЂњOK, allows place your self that is real out and simply be your self.вЂќ