David Bromstad: Designing For Life

By: Joe Thompson

If you're a fan of HGTV you probably know David Bromstad, the host of Color Splash, HGTV'd, and a mentor on the network's Design Star series, the show that scored Bromstad his own television career. Bromstad has always been open about being gay, and now he's using his celebrity status to make some bold moves by helping elevate public awareness about the importance of regular HIV testing. He's teamed up with Janssen Therapeutics to promote the “Know Yourself: Get HIV Tested” initiative. His involvement started with a video, and now he's using his famous art skills to create a mural in New York City in recognition of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

In an interview with HIV Plus' Winston Gieseke, Bromstad explained that he wants people to see HIV testing as just one more way for them to maintain their health. "It’s like brushing your teeth—not doing it shouldn’t be an option," said the Miami-based designer. "I want people to get out there, get tested, and be healthy. Because if they know their status and they’re healthy, the people they have sex with will be healthy as well. It doesn’t look like HIV will be going away anytime soon, but ignoring it is definitely not the right choice."

Bromstad's life was impacted by HIV/AIDS while dating his second boyfriend, whose best friend had HIV. "I watched him struggle with his medicines," he said. "At the time, the medicine was really hard on the body. But he’s doing great now. He’s living a healthy lifestyle, and over the years I’ve seen him go from a handful of pills down to one pill, which is really amazing." However, with that blessing of fewer pills also comes a curse, which Bromstad sees as a major hurdle with the epidemic.
"I think people are lazy, honestly. I think they’re like, Well, it’s a manageable disease—therefore I don’t have to protect myself. If worst comes to worst, all I have to do is pop that pill. And that is just not the way to live. No one wants to live with a condition that requires daily medication. It’s hurtful to the body. [The medicines do] great things when you have HIV, but do you really want to have that as an option when you can just slap a condom on?"

"What’s great about [the mural project] is that I’ll be able to help get the word out in the way I know best—through creative means."

Bromstad's mural will be unveiled at a ceremony in New York later this month.

Check out the video below, then read the full interview on HIV Plus.