Billy Porter has apparently been drawing on his own life as an HIV-positive gay man when he portrayed the character of HIV-positive Pray Tell in the FX series "Pose."

The 51-year-old American actor said he was diagnosed in June of 2007. At that time, his life was in a bit of a shambles as he also had Type II diabetes and had filed for bankruptcy.

"The shame of that time compounded with the shame that had already (accumulated) in my life silenced me, and I have lived with that shame in silence for 14 years," he said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter adding, "HIV-positive, where I come from, growing up in the Pentecostal church with a very religious family, is God's punishment."

"For a long time, everybody who needed to know, knew — except for my mother. I was trying to have a life and a career, and I wasn't certain I could if the wrong people knew," Porter continued.

He said had he came out with his diagnosis then, "it would just be another way for people to discriminate against me in an already discriminatory profession." So he tried to "think about it as little" as he could and tried to block it out. Porter thought of the stigma that could have followed him had he opened up about his diagnosis then.

"It wasn't a fear that [my status] was going to come out or that somebody was going to expose me; it was just the shame that it had happened. As a Black person, particularly a Black man on this planet, you have to be perfect or you will get killed," he explained.

Porter said the quarantine taught him a lot as it required everyone "to sit down and shut the f**k up." The pandemic "created a safe space" for him to "stop and reflect and deal with the trauma" in his life. He said he started "real trauma therapy" last year to start his healing process.

"The truth is the healing. And I hope this frees me. I hope this frees me so that I can experience real, unadulterated joy, so that I can experience peace, so that I can experience intimacy, so that I can have sex without shame," he shared.

Despite his HIV-positive diagnosis, Porter said he is the "healthiest" he has ever been in his life. So now he is sharing his story as "there's no more stigma" and he is done with living in the shame of it.

(Photo- Billy Porter)
US actor Billy Porter accepts the Emmy for Lead Actor In A Drama Series for "Pose" -- he is the first openly gay black man to win the honor Frederic J. Brown