Louis Vuitton Rodeo Drive Store Re-OpeningA former child star has revealed some shocking health news in an effort to raise awareness for others.

Who's the Boss?," appeared on an episode of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" this weekend and announced that he's HIV-positive. Pintauro, who's now 39, told Oprah that he contracted the virus in February 2003 during a period in his life when he was experimenting heavily with drugs -- specifically crystal meth -- and sex.

Pintauro explained that he first decided to try crystal meth after the end of a two-year relationship, in an effort to lower his inhibitions with new sexual partners. Such drug use is common in the gay community, the actor said, and while it's a widespread practice, it's also dangerous, as Pintauro soon discovered.

" ... [Y]ou can do everything you think you need to do to take care of yourself, but because of what meth does to your brain and to your body, no matter how hard you try, you're still opening yourself up to those possibilities -- whatever STI you can think of, it's so much more prevalent that you're going to pick that up," he told Oprah.

After receiving his diagnosis, Pintauro said he felt worthless, thinking to himself, "No one is ever going to love me now. ... I should just give up on trying to find someone." But eventually, the actor said, he came to terms with his diagnosis; he's now happily married to Wil Tabares, who he wed in 2014. He's also revealed his status to his former "Boss" costars Tony Danza and Judith Light, who he said were "really supportive."

But Pintauro said the main reason he was speaking out now about his diagnosis is because he wants to not only de-stigmatize HIV, but also help others in the gay community prevent contracting the virus in the same way that he did.

"The idea of being gay, coming out as gay and having a meth problem is not that far-fetched of a concept. And that's a problem," Pintauro told Oprah. " ... If you're paying any bit of attention, you realize that HIV isn't a death sentence anymore. That's one of the 'beacon of light' aspects of this whole situation that I want to take on. You can live a healthy life, you can have a happy life. ... For me, HIV is the new closet in the sense that, until we all come out of the HIV closet and start talking about it ... we [won't become] more accepted."

For more from Pintauro, check out a clip from his interview below, and read more of his remarks over at People.

[via: People]

Photo credit: Getty Images