Andy Cohen was "so scared" to have sex at the height of the AIDS crisis.
The 'Watch What Happens Live' host believes he is alive today because of his fear of contracting HIV when he first came out as gay at a time when knowledge and treatment of the disease were limited.
He said: "I came out in 1988, at the height of the epidemic. I was so scared to have sex. ...And it's why I'm alive today, because I was really scared.
"It was a scary time to be gay, it was a scary time to be sexual... It's always kind of there in one way or another. It's not something you can erase from your experience."
The 50-year-old star came out when he was studying in London and had an incredible "free" time that gave him the confidence to return to the US and be true to himself.
He told the new issue of Attitude magazine: "I came out in London and the soundtrack was Erasure and Bronski Beat. I felt free that semester -- it was amazing. I met other gay people and we went out, I went out the whole time. Then I came back to the States and that's when I started coming out to people. That's when I kind of found myself."
Because he's always been open about his sexuality, Andy admits he's always had the "freedom" in his career not to feel he has to censor himself.
He said: "I'm pretty uncensored. I talk about poppers and about bottoms on my show. That's the thing, I'm really open about who I am and am unapologetic, so I think there's something freeing in that.
"I was always out in my career so there was a freedom to that, and I've always been outspoken, and gay people say they connect with that and it makes me happy, too."
Read the full interview with Andy in the new issue of Attitude magazine, which is available in print and digital now.