Former "Who's The Boss?" star Danny Pintauro shared with the TV audience of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that he was diagnosed with HIV in 2003.
"I wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but I wasn't ready — I'm ready now — that I'm HIV positive," Pintauro told Oprah. He was diagnosed 12 years ago but feared admitting the truth because, "It's just a big deal."
Pintauro said he wants to be open about his status to help others. ""I missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through because I was outed — it wasn't by choice."
Pentauro also acknowledged that he became a crystal meth user (he no longer uses the drug) during a period of time after the end of a two-year relationship. He said he began experimenting with the drug the same year he was diagnosed with HIV.
"I had just come out of a two-year relationship and I discovered in that relationship that there was more I wanted to explore… sexually. Crystal meth takes away your inhibitions, you have no limits."
Pintauro came out in 1997 when a tabloid reporter called him back then saying the paper was going to out him whether he cooperated or not.
Judith Light, his former "Who's the Boss?" co-star, urged Pintauro to take the lead in breaking the story as a way of controlling the message. "It was the best thing," Pintauro says now. "'They can't misquote you,' she said. 'And as long as you give really responsible and mature answers, it can't be a bad article.'"
In an interview on Monday, Light told Good Day New York, 'I am so proud of him. He's talking about being HIV positive. He is being incredibly proactive. He now has a wonderful husband named Wil.
'He's giving a different face to what is still a disease that has not been handled.'