Good Morning America producer Tony Morrison revealed he is HIV positive months ago in August in an essay, but it wasn't an easy decision at all. Morrison tells People that he'd known of his status for at least eight years and went without telling many people –– only a few friends and family members knew of his life. "This is a little controversial, but no one in my family, including my mom, knew until my essay published as well," he told the outlet.
Morrison discovered he was positive just after he moved to New York City from his small hometown in Florida. He had just come out as a gay man on social media and was getting adjusted to his new lifestyle when he was shaken by the results of an at-home test. "It was devastating and I didn't really know where to go," he recalls. "No one really told you what to do if you got a positive result. It was just test, test, test, so part of that trauma was also endless Googling for help and where to find healthcare and resources."
He described feeling dread and shame over his diagnosis, not knowing what HIV meant when introduced to his body. He says after he went to a doctor and learned he could still live a full life with proper medication regimens, he was able to "unlearn that whole trauma and then build that confidence that I have now to share my story."
Since revealing his long-kept secret, the Emmy Award-winner shares he's received a great amount of support and love. "Everyone has been so supportive. I hear the word 'proud,' and I am so relieved that so many people have reached out in the way that they have," he says. "I think every person I've ever interacted with has reached out. It's been incredibly overwhelming, but that affirms to me that this was the right thing to do."
"We've lost a whole generation to HIV/AIDS and this whole other generation of people to COVID, and I just thought it was such an unfair thing to live in shame while I had that second chance to live at the same time," he explains.
He adds: "I just have a new confidence and boldness to live life to the fullest, and I think that leaning into your own story just does that for you." He closed his message by saying, "It's just part of who I am. It's something I'm living with. My diagnosis doesn't define me, and I think that that is the key messaging, that any diagnosis doesn't define who you are."