New ‘Hamilton’ star Javier Muñoz has spoken about living with HIV.
Lin Manuel-Miranda, the creator and star of Broadway smash musical Hamilton, stepped away from the role of revolutionary hero Alexander Hamilton last week after a year in the role.
His replacement in the show is long-time alternate Javier Muñoz, who has stepped into the biggest role on Broadway as he takes on the Ten-Dollar Founding Father Without A Father.
In an interview with the New York Times, Mr Muñoz – who is openly gay – spoke about living with HIV and also surviving cancer.
He recalled: “I have been living with HIV since 2002, and I’m undetectable.
“I’m healthy, I’m strong and I’m very out about that because of the stigma still attached to it.”
He added: “I have this joke – if it’s funny or not funny, I don’t know – but the joke is that I have died several times already, and that’s how it feels.
“My life completely and drastically changed in 2002 when I was diagnosed with HIV, and then again last year with cancer. And you can’t unknow what you know. Life is not the same after that.
“But I’m alive, and I’m for all intents and purposes healthy and well. And I’m grateful for that.”
Of finding out about his cancer diagnosis, he said: “I’ve had a healthy fear about my health since I tested positive, and I asked how to test myself for lumps, because both my parents had cancer.
“And very early on in my learning how to do a self-examination, I found the lump. I wasn’t immediately worried because of where it was — and I do want to keep that private because that’s the only thing that’s mine in this. But I brought it up to my doc, and that’s what led to further testing and discovery.”
However, after treatment he has had the all-clear.
The actor said: “I had my first follow-up in March, and all green lights. I’m good.”
Muñoz also paid tribute to his predecessor, who has recorded a gay pride anthem with Jennifer Lopez in the wake of the Orlando massacre. 49 people died in the shooting – predominantly Hispanic LGBT people.
The actor said: “I was on Facebook the other day, and Lin released that little teaser of his song with Jennifer Lopez, and I sort of sat there and went, ‘I’m taking over for this guy?’ That just feels incredible.
“It comes down to the work, right? I’ve been jumping in there every week, and I’ve helped build this character. So it’s like, I’m just enjoying this, man. This is just fun, and glorious.”