Billy Porter on going public with HIV-positive status: 'I've never felt joy like this before'

Billy Porter visited The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday where the Emmy-winning actor discussed his recent revealtion that he was diagnosed with HIV in 2007 but was too ashamed to go public with his status. Now that he has opened up about, Porter explained, a huge burden has been lifted from his shoulders.

“I lived with the shame of it for a really long time and last week, I released that shame,” Porter said. “I released that trauma and I am a free man, honey.”

Overcoming the negative stigma of being HIV-positive was difficult for Porter. Viewers appreciated his bravery and openness while discussing the shame associated with the disease.

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“I've never felt joy like this before,” Porter continued. “And you know, we talk about it in the Black church you know, this joy that I have — the world didn't give it and the world can't take it away. I got it, I got some joy now.”

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on NBC.

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