Karl Schmid is in awe of the kindness he was shown after publicly sharing that he has been HIV positive for nearly 10 years.
The Los Angeles-based ABC correspondent, who is openly gay, took to Facebook on Friday to speak about his health and declare: "Hi. I’m a 37-year-old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost 10 years. I work in television."
Schmid admitted that he has battled with coming forward about his diagnosis. "[I'm] 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 10 years, the stigma and industry professionals have said, 'Don’t! It’ll ruin you,'" he wrote. "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. I may be on TV from time to time, but at the end of the day I’m just an average guy who wants want we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers."
Schmid's post continued, "So here’s what I say, stand tall, and stand proud. 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."
The journalist -- who recently covered the Vanity Fair Oscars party for ABC7 -- concluded with a message of acceptance. "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. Love me or hate me, that’s up to you," he wrote. "But, for anyone who has ever doubted themselves because of those scary three letters and one symbol, let me tell you this, you are somebody who matters. Your feelings, your thoughts, your emotions count. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I’m Karl Schmid, and I’m an HIV-positive man!"
After seeing all the positive comments, Schmid went back on Facebook to express his gratitude. "Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact," he posted on Saturday. "For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU."
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