Karamo Brown Says He's 'Proud' of Jonathan Van Ness Following HIV Status Reveal (Exclusive)

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Karamo Brown is speaking out in support of his Queer Eye co-star!

ET's Denny Directo spoke with the 38-year-old reality star at Save the Children's "Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime," presented by The Walt Disney Company, where he praised Jonathan Van Ness, who recently revealed that he's HIV-positive.

"I can't speak on his decision to go public with it, I'm just proud of the fact that he has," Brown said. "... His visibility is helping so many other people to feel comfortable in who they are."

Brown also shared that the entire Queer Eye cast -- Bobby Berk, Tan France and Antoni Porowski -- knew about Van Ness' diagnosis "a long time before" he went public with the news.

"The five of us are very close and we talked about it many times, a long time before, and we've always been supportive," he said. "For me, I used to have an HIV/AIDS organization to end stigma and so he was very comfortable in talking about it."

"It's something that we have to talk about because it doesn't just affect the LGBT community, it affects African Americans, it affects all of us, it affects kids," Brown continued. "The more we talk about it, the more people will get help, get treatment."

In addition to supporting his friend, Brown is also busy as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars, where he's paired with Jenna Johnson.

"I'm having a great time. I'm somebody who loves costumes, I like it all," he gushed. "And the fact that each week there's also, like, tons of celebrities in there... literally two nights ago Demi Lovato was like, 'I'm in love with you.' And I'm just like, 'Demi Lovato, what? Are you kidding me?'"

"It's just kind of an honor to have people that I've looked up to for so long constantly tell me how much they look up to me and admire me," he added.

Though he's having a ball in the ballroom, Brown did admit that the experience has been harder than he anticipated.

"Just having rhythm is not enough. Because I thought I could slide through having rhythm, having style, but it's, like, hard," he lamented. "There's a couple people who are ringers because they've had dancing experience. I'm not a hater, but I'm like, it seems a little bit unfair. And so I'm like, 'Hold on. I have to work a little bit harder to keep up with these people who have been dancing since they were three years old.'"

As for why he took time out of his schedule to attend the charity event, Brown said that he feels the need to support causes because "we have people who are definitely trying to silence us, silence people of color, silence children, silence people of the LGBTQIA community, that's not OK with me."

"When we think about how [there are] many kids around this world who don't have access to food, education, housing, supportive parents, you have to come and do whatever you can to support them," he said of the event itself, before referencing his two sons, Jason, 22, and Christian, 18.

"As a father myself, it's, like, my boys are the world to me," he said. "So I always want to make sure that other children have the same things that my kids have."

 

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