Danny Pintauro: Why He Felt Relieved After Learning He Was HIV Positive
Danny Pintauro shocked his fans when he revealed on “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” that he is HIV positive, and has been so for the past 12 years.
Saying that he was “relieved” by the discovery of his disease, the former “Who’s the Boss?” star released a statement to the People Magazine to address the confusion his remarks had caused. “For the first three weeks after finding out I was HIV-positive, I cried. A lot,” the statement read. “Every stage of grief consumed me and spit me back out. I had horrific nightmares every night. There was no moment in those three weeks where I felt anything but that my life, as I knew it, was over. The stigma surrounding HIV is so severe that, prior to my diagnosis, any time I ever had sexual thoughts about men, I believed that somehow I had allowed HIV into my body, to the point of paranoia.”
In his interview since revealing on “Where Are They Now?” that he’s suffering from HIV, he spoke about the sexual encounter that he believes contracted him the virus and how the discovery “really did come out of the blue.” Speaking about the precautionary measures he had taken, he said, “From my perspective, I had been trying everything I could to make sure I was safe.”
He also spoke about the uneasiness the subject of HIV/AIDS causes among several people. “A lot of people just aren’t comfortable with it,” he said. “They might say they are, but in the back of their mind, they’re terrified of it. … And that’s okay. I can’t force them to not be terrified of something. I was terrified of it for the longest time. I understand that terror.”
Pintauro’s sexuality surfaced in 1997, when he was forced to come out because a tabloid threatened to reveal the same.
Speaking about his diagnosis, he said in his statement, “So one day, a few weeks after finding out my diagnosis. I had a stark ‘moment’ when I realized I wouldn’t have to worry like that anymore. I started crying. I was so angry with myself for allowing myself to get infected, and now I was now also angry with myself for feeling relieved. I can’t explain the feeling, I’m not PROUD of the feeling; in fact, I hate the feeling … Unfortunately, the fears and worries I had about getting HIV were instantly replaced by a MUCH longer list of fears and worries … and those are still here, 12 years later. So much for relief.”