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September 22, 2021

Billy Porter Reflects on Life after HIV Diagnosis: 'I'm Ready for Whatever Comes Next'

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Billy Porter finally feels free after years of hiding his HIV diagnosis from the world out of utter shame and fear of being judged by others.

Recently, the actor was an honoree at The Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS event, which took place on Friday at West Hollywood Park, in California.

According to Porter, there is "a shame component with being Black, with being queer, with having HIV that is silencing and destructive." However, he no longer feels oppressed.

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READY FOR ANYTHING

At the event, Porter explained that he is no longer silenced or shamed and that he is "ready for whatever comes next." Not only that, but he claimed to have received good feedback from people who he inspired.

Porter only opened up about his diagnosis to a few people, those he could trust.

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The 2021 Emmys nominee said that he believes people with specific platforms can and should use them to make a positive impact in the world:

"I think it's important that those of us who have a platform use our platforms in ways that move difficult conversations forward. and that can be transformative in some way and make a change, make a difference."

Standing alongside Dr. Anthony Fauci and National AIDS Policy Director Sandra Thurman, Porter received the Elizabeth Taylor Commitment to End AIDS award.

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HIS INSPIRATION

Porter praised the late actress for having the courage to become a role model to people around the world dealing with HIV and AIDS and that she taught them "how to love unconditionally."

In May, the "Pose" star revealed that he tested positive for HIV in 2007, which he described as the worst year of his life. He also stated that shame led him to hide the diagnosis for almost 15 years.

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THE WORST YEAR

According to Porter, he was part of the generation who was supposed to know better, and it ended up happening anyway, recalling how 2007 was his rock bottom:

"By February, I had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. By March, I signed bankruptcy papers. And by June, I was diagnosed HIV-positive."

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Porter only opened up about his diagnosis to a few people, those he could trust. Having been born and raised in a very religious family, it was believed in his household that HIV was "God's punishment."

Fortunately, he no longer feels that way and doesn't have to hide anymore. He says that sharing his secret with the world has helped him get rid of the shame and the trauma.

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