Actor Danny Pintauro, best known for playing the young son Jonathan on the 80s sitcom Who’s the Boss?, revealed he is HIV-Positive on an episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?
“I wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but I wasn’t ready. I’m ready now,” Pintauro told Oprah Winfrey in an interview on the show.
Pintauro was diagnosed in 2003 while living in New York during routine blood work for a checkup.
“You go in, and you sort of waited two weeks on pins and needles, or at least I did, because I was just terrified of the idea of getting HIV,” Pintauro said.
The actor was outed in a 1997 National Enquirer article, against his wishes. “I was outed,” Pintauro recalled to Winfrey. “It wasn’t by choice.”
Pintauro also spoke about his drug use at the time of his diagnoses.
“I was doing crystal meth, which completely ruins your immune system,” Pintauro said. “I had just come out of a two-year relationship and I discovered in that relationship that there was more I wanted to explore sexually. Crystal meth takes away your inhibitions. I was experimenting. And believe it or not, I thought that I was being safe in that encounter. I know exactly when it happened.”
While Pintauro told Oprah he was terrified, he also said there was a sense of relief.
“It’s backwards. You’ve spent so much time terrified that you’re going to get it, and then you have it. You don’t have to be terrified anymore,” he said.
Pintauro said he regrets not knowing the name of the man he contracted HIV from.
“I regret not knowing that because that person has completely changed my life,” he said.
During the interview, Pintauro said he had a message for the gay community. “What I want my community to realize is we need to take better care of ourselves.”
Pintauro posted a picture on Instagram of him and his husband the same day the interview aired on OWN with the caption “Last meal as a nobody. 😉 first meal as an activist. #lifelivelove
A photo posted by Danny Pintauro (@dannypintauro) on