Los Angeles-based ABC News reporter Karl Schmid came out as HIV-positive in an emotion-filled Facebook post.
"I’m a 37 year old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost ten years," Schmid wrote on Friday. "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!"
In his post, the openly gay Australian native noted that "industry professionals" had long advised him not to be open about his HIV status because it would "ruin" him, but he chose to "tell the truth."
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"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," he wrote.
Kelsey Louie, CEO of HIV/AIDS prevention and care organization GMHC, applauded Schmid's decision to disclose his HIV status.
"Stigma, and discrimination still continue to adversely affect too many people living with HIV and AIDS, forcing them to isolate from others," Louie said. "This kind of stigma also creates barriers to access medical care and supportive services."
"When Karl shared the news about his HIV status, he sent a message to other people that they, too, can live a healthy life with HIV," Louie added.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD, said Schmid helped give a voice to the estimated one million people living with HIV in the U.S.
“Speaking out about stigma and acceptance, as Karl Schmid has done, is vital to our societal narrative and giving voice to people living with HIV and AIDS,” she said. “Culture shift and education happen when powerful and much needed messages like this one break through.”
Following Schmid's Facebook post, supportive responses poured in on social media.
In a separate post, Schmid thanked his followers for their support.
"Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact," Schmid wrote.
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