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Drag Race star Q shares she's living with HIV

Drag Race star Q shares she's living with HIV

<p><em>Drag Race</em> star Q shares she's living with HIV</p>

The talented queen opened up about their status in an emotional and inspiring episode.

One of the greatest things to come out of the Drag Race universe is that it regularly starts important conversations about things that affect the LGBTQ+ community — including HIV.

Over the years, a handful of queens have used the platform to raise awareness around the virus by sharing their statuses and stories with their castmates and the world. On last Friday’s episode of the show’s current season (16), fashionista frontrunner Q joined this special group by sharing that she is HIV-positive.

The first queen to speak about HIV did so on the very first season Rupaul’s Drag Race. Fan favorite Ongina tearfully opened up about living with HIV on the main stage after winning a challenge in which the contestants had to create a PSA; Ongina’s was a joyous HIV-themed PSA that encouraged people to live their best lives regardless of their status. Years later during season 8, Trinity K. Bonet disclosed her status in an episode of Untucked and more recently, on the third season of Drag Race UK in 2021, Charity Kase shared that they’d been living with HIV since the age of 18.

Q (left) opens up to fellow contestant Plane Jane in the workroom. MTV

And now Q, 26, has bravely shared her story on the series in hopes to help reduce stigma as well as do some personal healing, noting that she hadn’t even told her family yet.

“I am doing something very sentimental for the runway today,” Q told fellow contestant Plane Jane in the workroom as they prepared for a 1980s themed runway, for which Q wore a fabulous Keith Haring inspired dress with a red sparkly collar in the shape of the AIDS ribbon. Haring was a well-known artist and activist who rose to fame in the 1980s and died from HIV-related causes at 31 years old. “It’s inspired by the generation of gay people that we lost to the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s. So it’s really, really special to me.”

Q discloses her status to the judges while wearing a Keith Haring-inspired dress of her own design.MTV

Then she confided to Plane Jane that she was living with HIV (and later on the episode also disclosed this to the judges on the main stage).

“When I first got my diagnosis I felt like really lost and I felt, like, super alone,” said Q. “I tested positive when I was 24. I was mostly scared about how I was going to be treated by family and people around me who don’t understand it because it is so stigmatized.”

Her fears were not completely unfounded, as she noted, “people have said really awful and nasty things to me…almost de-humanizing me.”

Q also stressed how vital it is that health providers that care for people living with HIV treat their patients with dignity and respect, which isn’t always the case.

“It’s crazy how much people with HIV have to deal with,” added Q. “I’ve been treated differently by like, health care providers. I think it’s so important to have queer people in health care. You really feel that difference in care between those providers.”

“Do you hear that gay people?!” Plane Jane quipped. “Stop doing drag and start going to medical school!”

Season 16 of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Fridays on MTV at 8 p.m. ET.

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