Karl Schmid an entertainment reporter for ABC's affiliate station in Los Angeles over the weekend came out as HIV-positive in a Facebook post that has gone viral.
Hi. I’m a 37 year old HIV+ man who has been poz for almost ten years. I work in television. And 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 ten years the stigma and industry professionals have said, ‘don’t! It’ll ruin you’.
Schmid decided to ignore the advice and is proud of who he is and doesn't see a reason to feel ashamed or to even hide his status. “I’m me. I’m just like you. I have a big heart and I want to be loved and accepted,” he writes. “So here’s what I say, stand tall, and stand proud. You can’t make everybody happy but you can make you happy.”
He concludes the heartfelt post with a few words of encouragement for other HIV-positive people:
Love me or hate me, that’s up to you. 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!
The support has been overwhelming and he appears to be humbled. He wrote on Twitter: “Today has been insanely overwhelming. I had NO idea that me sharing something would have such an impact. For those of you who dm’d with your stories THANK YOU.”