After nearly a decade of uncertainty over the potentially career-damning decision to come out as HIV-positive, ABC7 Los Angeles’ correspondent Karl Schmid, dropped the bombshell that he is indeed HIV- positive in a heartfelt March 23 Facebook post that has since gone viral.
Schmidt, 37, is an Australian who typically covers human interest stories and Hollywood events on Los Angeles’ ABC7, often covering star-studded events like Oscar after-parties, reports the San Francisco Gate.
Schmid grappled with the painful decision of whether coming out as HIV-positive would damage his budding career, but ultimately, decided last Friday night that the time had arrived. He said he was hushed by others to remain silent about his HIV status, over the implications of how it could affect his career.
“Hi,” Schmid wrote. “I’m a 37 year old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost ten years. I work in television. And on the side of the camera where, for better or worse it’s considered ‘taboo’ for people ‘like me’ to be ‘like me’. For 10 years I’ve struggled with ‘do I or don’t I’? For ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘don’t! It’ll ruin you’. But here’s the thing. I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted.”
Most importantly, Schmid just wants to be accepted like anyone else would. Schmid’s incredible post leaves an inspirational message to others that are struggling with the same issues including being diagnosed with HIV.
“So here’s what I say, stand tall, and stand proud,” Schmid wrote, to other people living with HIV. “You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy. And so long as you tell the truth, you will never have to remember anything. Labels are things that come and go but your dignity and who you are is what defines you. I know who I am, I know what I stand for and while in the past I may not have always had clarity, I do now.”
If you notice in the photo, Schmid is wearing The AIDS Memorial t-shirt that bears a pink triangle symbol. In the post, Schmid tagged charity organization The AIDS Memorial, which refuses to let us forget the “stories of love, loss and remembrance” of those affected by the virus.
“I’m Karl Schmid, and I’m an HIV-positive man!” he concluded.
Living with HIV shouldn’t slow Schmid down with his career as an on-camera ABC correspondent. The odds that people living with HIV can survive and live happily at near normal life expectancies is increasing and is a testament to that.
The overall response turned out to be mostly positive. The post was followed with an outpouring of positive messages in support of his earnesty and clarity. Schmid then tweeted a photo of himself with a man he calls his “best friend,” a day after coming out.
“Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU. Tonight, I’m hanging out with my best friend and enjoying the talent that is @taylormacnyc in DTLA,” Schmid tweeted.
HIV visibility remains a rare instance in today’s society, even in the socially liberal safety of Hollywood. But brave men and women like Schmid are helping to erode the social barriers that prevent other from coming out about their HIV status, and are setting an example as healthy and successful individuals.