AIDS/HIV | Film and TV | Interview | Ross Mathews | Ross the Intern | Television

TV Personality Ross Mathews Speaks Out About HIV Testing

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Credit: Bradford Rogne

This is the first installment in a two-part interview with TV personality Ross Mathews. Come back tomorrow to hear what Ross has to say about his life in Hollywood.

Ross Mathews is a man who wears many hats -- host of Hello Ross on E!, red carpet reporter, best-selling author, just to name a few. He's interviewed the First Lady, made besties with Gwyneth Paltrow and famously interned for Jay Leno. Since making his mark as the nicest guy in Hollywood, Mathews told Towleroad last Friday that he's setting his sights on something bigger.

"I'm so lucky to have a platform where I literally talk to millions of people a week, and I take it very seriously," he said. "I also have a direct line to the LGBT community because, of course, I have a large base of LGBT fans, but also I travel the country, I visit colleges, I am grand marshal at prides across the country ... With that sort of platform I feel a responsibility to talk about the issues facing that community."

On the top of his list is spreading the message about the importance of getting tested for HIV to the gay community.

Read more about what drew him to this work, AFTER THE JUMP...

"In 2013, you'd think numbers would be lower because of all the awareness we have, but, of the new cases of HIV, 63 percent of them are gay men," he said. "I really want to get the message out there about how important it is to be tested."

To help spread the word, Mathews has partnered with the makers of OraQuick, an in-home, oral HIV-testing product, to let people know that getting tested is easier than ever. 

"It's not like back in the day where you would go to a clinic and have to give blood, and wait a week for results, and it was nerve-racking and scary." 

Mathews isn't shy about sharing his personal history with HIV testing, either.

"In my personal life, I was never Mr. Super Sexy, so I never got the chance to be really promiscuous. I kind of wish I could have been, but I always would have been safe, because I was in sixth grade when they first started teaching HIV/AIDS awareness ... they really drilled into us to only have safe sex ever." he said. "Even though I knew there was a pretty good chance that I was negative for my first time tested, I was so scared. It was a routine physical and I waited a week -- a week -- for the results, and it just lived in the back of my mind for that whole week."

What attracted Mathews to OraQuick was the ease with which the product delivered results, and the quick turnaround of results. 

"I made a snack and turned on the TV, I didn't even get to finish the program by the time the results were ready," he said. "Just 20 minutes from now, from this moment, you could know your status, and there is such power in that."

Still, the spokesperson role is a new one for Mathews. He initially had his doubts if he could be an effective messenger for such an important topic, but realized the potential impact was worth it.

"I was a little nervous. Do people want to hear this from me? Do they just want me to shut up and giggle?" he said. "People understand why I have to be part of this: If we get one person to know their status ... this could save lives."

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Comments

  1. Glad Ross is doing this. Shows he's not just the feminine gay guy who laughs on TV like many think he is. Also, HIV is a serious issue in our community, STD's in general, that aren't being talked about AT ALL, probably because we're scared of what straight people will say. Studies show that within 15 years, nearly half of young gay men could be exposed to HIV if things continue on the path they are. With all of these sex apps, porn studios promoting bareback sex, you would think marriage equality would lead to a reduction of the hookup culture within the community and that hasn't happened whatsoever, especially in larger metros (aka NYC, SF, WEHO/LA, etc.)

    Hooking up isn't the issue but not getting tested and not taking HIV serious are issues and we need to start talking about HIV and STD's in the community.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Oct 1, 2013 4:22:33 PM


  2. Does "he" actually have genitals?

    Posted by: patrick | Oct 1, 2013 5:38:00 PM


  3. Ross is really a doll. I'm not into celeb gossip but his new show is so light and joyful that I kinda of don't care what they are talking about. It's just a nice half our of tv without people yelling at each other.

    Posted by: Thomas | Oct 1, 2013 6:54:28 PM


  4. I know there is still controversy about home testing for HIV but this kit may reach men who either cannot get to a testing center or if they are too frightened of a clinic environment. It could also be a convenience factor for those of us who know the drill. The price of $40 is a bit high for lower income people which is why we must also support health centers that provide free HIV testing. Although I have mixed feelings, I think having more testing choices is a good thing.

    Posted by: AngelaChanning | Oct 1, 2013 7:32:22 PM


  5. Testing doesn't mean crap if you're still spreading the disease.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Oct 1, 2013 8:03:52 PM


  6. nice commercial. Here's a newsflash that apparently HIV prevention advocates missed, the time to prevent HIV is BEFORE the test! If you just keep testing until you get that positive result, you can't undo it.

    Posted by: andy | Oct 1, 2013 8:26:01 PM


  7. So Patrick can say something that ugly, and I can't respond without being censored? Thanks, Towleroad. I prefer JoeMyGod, anyway.

    Posted by: Jack | Oct 2, 2013 12:16:06 AM


  8. Yes, please just "shut up and giggle". Testing is NOT an HIV prevention method. A condom is. Why don't you shill for the condom industry instead. At least then you could do some good.

    Posted by: Louis | Oct 2, 2013 1:25:30 AM


  9. The point of testing is that most infections happen among those who don't know they are infected and aren't being treated.

    Posted by: Fiveht | Oct 2, 2013 12:10:07 PM


  10. Patrick, if you're reading this, please answer a question. Why did you post that? I'm genuinely curious.

    Posted by: throwslikeagirl | Oct 2, 2013 1:19:38 PM


  11. The home test kit is priced at over $40 locally, way too expensive for a lot of people who should be getting tested to get it. As a result, many don't. The FDA has allowed the manufacturer to exploit its monopoly position so as to extract as much revenue from the American public as it can.

    Couple with that with a testing regime, such as what we have in Florida, that does everything it can to discourage anonymous testing, again, allowed by the CDC, and you see a situation that continues to be bad. Many should would like to get tested simply won't.

    Posted by: Gerp | Oct 2, 2013 3:46:44 PM


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