They Said It Could Ruin Him, But This Journalist Revealed His HIV Status To Send A Message

"I'm me. I'm just like you."

Despite being warned not to and that it would ruin his career, entertainment journalist Karl Schmid has revealed something very personal about him after 10 years of holding it inside: he's HIV-positive. In a Facebook post, the openly gay reporter addressed the stigma tied to this status and did so with no apologies — potentially saving lives in the process.

Schmid — who does on-camera work for L.A.'s ABC affiliate, ABC7 — wrote that he's struggled with admitting this about himself because others in the industry told him that it would "ruin" his career. Someone in his position, he writes, it's considered "taboo" for people like him to actually be like him.

"But here's the thing. I'm me. I'm just like you," the 37-year-old Australian said. "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 what we all want. To be accepted and loved by our friends and family and to be encouraged by our peers."

Schmid's refusal to give into the stigma that those in the HIV-positive community face from mainstream society speaks volumes and it's powerful to see someone speak their truth. Schmid is clearly living without apologies for who he is and has some advice for others who may be facing a similar struggle.

"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," he continued. "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. 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 receiving a massive amount of support, Schmid called the experience "insanely overwhelming" and that he had no idea just how much of an impact this would have. In the end, Schmid had two words for the feedback he'd been given: "THANK YOU."

In the original photo, we see Schmid is wearing a T-shirt for The AIDS Memorial, an organization with a goal of "preserving the legacy of the AIDS epidemic with stories of love, loss, and remembrance." In doing this, he honors the 36.7 million people around the world who live with HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization, and the millions who have already lost the fight to this disease. And remember, this is just the number of reported cases — not including those who are ashamed to come forward.

Hopefully, with an outspoken voice like Schmid's, others will feel as though they can live fully as themselves with no regrets.

(H/T: Towleroad)

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