Out actor Danny Pintauro says in a new op-ed that he disclosed his HIV status to his husband on their first date.
Pintauro, a former child star best known for playing Jonathan Bower on Who's the Boss
, announced in September that he's been living with HIV for 12 years. He came out gay in 1997.
In an Out.com column
titled Louder Than The Bombs
, Pintauro says that sharing his HIV status with men was difficult.
"For me, the most excruciating part of being HIV-positive has been telling a boy about it. I was always convinced he wouldn't want to see me anymore if I told him my status, yet I was incapable of moving forward – especially sexually – without telling him. And if I didn't tell him right away, would he be angry? Would he decide to call the Enquirer
on this former child star? It was emotionally exhausting. More exhausting than worrying about my health or viral load. So exhausting that I decided, for years, to date only men who were also positive – it eliminated the fear and gave us something we could both relate to."
Pintauro later changed his mind, saying that "strictly dating positive men was too exclusive, and limiting my options."
After moving to Las Vegas, he met his future husband, Wil. Their first date was going so well, Pintauro said, that he "had to tell him."
"Typically, this was the moment when my latent fear crept in and my default mode of heavy breaths and a pounding heart took over as I prepared to drop the bomb. Yet I learned from experience that all that buildup never worked. It made me look uncomfortable, and it made the whole thing seem especially scary – which isn't a good way to start with someone unfamiliar with HIV. So I didn't drop a bomb; I simply dropped the topic into conversation: 'Yeah, moving here was a really big change,' I said. 'All of my best friends are in L.A. I had a great house and a terrific doctor. I don't even know if Vegas has any HIV-focused doctors...'"
"And that was it."
"To the HIV-positive guy out there who's worried he'll never find love, remember: You are not a deadly weapon. And to the HIV-negative guy who's afraid to date someone positive: Consider lowering your guard. All love can be scary, but no love is doomed to be fatal," he concluded.