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Openly HIV Positive: Episode 10

| 39 Comments
On Episode 10, Season 8, of Project Runway, the challenge for the contestants was to design a fabric inspired by a moment from their past.

Mondo Guerra designed a fabric inspired by his HIV positive status. During the Project Runway episode, he discloses his status publicly for the first time.

In this video blog, Guerra shares how he decided to disclose:

39 Comments

Show Comment(s)

Comments on Mondo Guerra's blog entry "Openly HIV Positive: Episode 10"

Rock on Mondo, I hope you go all the way. What you have done can only lead to better awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

It's good that you felt you had to bare your soul/tell all, but WHO THE HELL WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT SOMEONE's HIV STATUS? There is no benefit to viewers/readers/audience knowing this and it is not a badge of honor one wears either!!! If you really want to make a difference, volunteer at old folks home, read to the blind, go wack the homeless men off for jollie or cheap thrills, but please don't share your status with other strangers!!! You're not going to get a higher place in heaven because of it and contintue with your counseling/therapy sessions biatch!!!

Per the first comments saying there is no benefit from mondo's honesty and that if he wants to help he should volunteer at an old folks home...if you feel that way why don't you post someplace other than POZ.com? There is enough anti-poz snark clogging the Internet, you don't have to bring your poison here. Mondo had a legitimate reason to share his status and in doing so he inspired many people with the virus to realize that there are plenty of young, ambitious, intelligent infectees.

I'm very proud of your courage Mondo. I hope you win it all. I've been positive since 2003 and can certainly understand your story. Congratulations!

to Sinclair Adams, Shame on you! The more people that come out about their status, the more information and education will come out to help prevent further infections!

Mondo way to go man. As a poz person for 25 years, it meant allot to me when you shared your news. It will help opur community and I am very proud of you. That was a very brave thing to do. Keeping something like this a secret is very difficult. I kept my status a secret for 15 years, so I can relate to your sitsuation. Bravo Mondo!

Way to go Mondo! That took guts, and was so brave. And yes, I, too feel that the more people see openly HIV positive, healthy people living their lives fully, it helps ALL of us. I feel for Sinclair that he/she is in a state of pain, that they would rag on someone for dealing head on with their status. Im still working on that myself, and when I see brave souls like Mondo, it encourages me. Let us all be gentle with ourselves as we deal with something that is life altering.

who the hell want to hear about your ignorance.
it's the fastest disease in youths 13 - 17,
it's exploded in senior care homes,
It's a North American and world epidemic

Grow up. Each person who speaks up puts a face on that fact - we are all vulnerable. So let's
ask ourselves one question - are you homophobic
thinking it's gay only disease? Or are you aware
that more straight people in USA, Canada and Europe are getting it - rather then gay people.

It's critically important to have education.
This is education. Would you want someone you
know to get HIV?

So it's all education. It's all good.
Open your Mind to the education
and your Heart to the compassion that lets us understand and feel for others - and be able
to educate our kids, friends, and others that
we all need

STRONG SELF ESTEEM
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
A CONDOM WHEN YOU ARE DATING.

You don't want to know the USA statistics of married couples that step up, on the down low
or with someone they don't know WELL - and bring
HIV into the relationship so both people have it.

So - you don't get a free pass, you are not invulnerable.

@ Sinclair, WOW!! That silence you wish to perpetuate is the reason so many people still think you can look at someone and tell. What a foolish and insensitive thing to post...so so sad and disheartening. There's a higher power that deals with folks like yourself, sad to say, but you'll see, I just hope you won't end up on the inside looking out.

What courage Mondo has....I like the way the show handled it as well, no sensationalizing him as some producers might have done. Very classy Heidi and Tim.

Mondo, I am so in awe of your strength and courage. The comments posted by Sinclair Adams only point to the continued stigma that is suffered by all who struggle with this disease. Bravo to you, Mondo. Although you are trying very hard to win Project Runway, just know that you have already won many friends throughout the world.

I am amazed and inspired by your courage, Mondo.

You are blessed with talent and a great attitude and I hope to be more like you.

You have all my best wishes!

CONGRATULATIONS MONDO! You are a winner!
People need to realize HIV is all around us in all different shapes and sizes, color and race, gay or heterosexual. Thank you for sharing, this helps people to understand this disease is all around us and people need to pay attention to it and not be afraid of it so we may stop the spread of it.
You are a great designer!

Mondo, I'm so proud of you. What a great show of bravery! I wish I had it in me to do what you did. There was nothing easy about that.

In some bizarre way, I can partially see your point; however, Mondo was courageous in what he did. For 10 years he, like MANY OF US, have been too afraid to come out with our status because even in the 21st century, so many (HIV -) people are still of the 80's mentality that having HIV/AIDS is gross--a deviate's disease--communicable in ways that it's not communicable. I really don't believe he was grandstanding for a 'medal of honor' as you say.

People like Mondo are indeed putting a face on the disease, and are helping to take away the negative stigma attached to it. So good for him (and the rest of us) that he spoke up!

Wow Sinclair Adams, cover up your self-hatred much?

Who cares? The show cared. They wanted an outfit design that was inspired by something from their past. They ask him and he delivered. It's not like he went out of his way to give them a pivotal moment in his life.

BRAVO MONDO!!!

Congratulations for having the courage to revel your HIV status on TV. My question would be: how do you feel now? I hope / pray you are doing GREAT! I know by fact that people out there can be nasty, cruel and everything is based on the HIV stigma and ignorance.

From my point of view, I believe it should not matter what your HIV status is, unless you would be having sex with someone there. What it matter is what is your value as a person, as an individual that his only “mistake” was to trust in someone. No one question or finger points a person with cancer, diabetic, etc but HIV/AIDS. All of us living with HIV/AIDS are just regular individuals, that for 1 or another reason got this virus, but this doesn't mean we are less than others...

CONGRATULATIONS for your courage and may you be blessed with all things good.

Greetings from Miami.

Wow that was deep what you did , I wish alot of us were more like you . God Bless you !

Face it, its got Power and has been influential in our lives for quite a while now. The power it has needs to be crippled and its people like Mondo who will get us there. At what expense are we living longer, the price is that we can raise our children and contribute to society, worthwhile I would say. In this world, fellow human beings have gotten it in themselves that they are more equal than others and deserve the world, maybe its hurray to beliefs of strong human superiority complex, so far what has been the result, certainly, not satisfaction because history tells us something has always gone contrary to.....

It is about time someone on TV had the courage to SPEAK UP, and tell the world that HIV/AIDS has no face or boundrais. We are lacking a lot of advocacy and education among each other. I remember in the 90's it was a taboo but people were talking about it, now every one is silenced and afraid to talk when we finally have more medications and more information people get quiet.

i wanted to respond to sinclair adams comments but i realised that my fellow poz mates have already said a mouthful.Adams sounds like an HIV positive person in denial. why else would he be on poz.anyways enough time wasting talking about small minded adams. big up Mondo your a hero.i for one cant take on projects that put me on the spotlite because im afraid my status will be known but you have now given me the strength to get on with it.its easier and better when people already know your status instead of them seeing you get seek and talk behind your back which is more hurtful than them knowing straight up from the horses mouth.you know reviling your status actually gives you power. lots of love to mondo

I have little doubt that you will be in the finals. Your designs are inventive, playful, and modern.

Your coming out as positive was a very brave thing to do, especially before millions of people. Personally, I'm of the camp in which, frankly I only let certain close people know. I don't feel I have the responsibility to disclose. But then again, people like you are the ones that have the venue to make changes in attitude. You took on that responsibility admirably. Thank you.

Now not that your health is not important, but your happiness is, and I am crossing my fingers that you are picked as the best designer this year. The others are very good as well, but yours really "speak" fashion.

Good luck!

Wil

P.S. Tell me that G is not as self-centric as she seems to be. Editing can be so cruel sometimes.

It's astonishing to me that you have such a distorted view about how people should go about things.

I'm not big on people feeling they have to disclose their status to the entire world, but only because in these days and times, for the most part, everyone is aware of what HIV is, and everyone has the responsibility to protect themselves against the virus. Well at least in the USA and other developed countries. Unfortunately, the same does not hold true in many underdeveloped countries still. There HIV 101 is still the norm.

But your reaction is somewhat overstated and violent. Anger is not a good thing for most people, let alone people with compromised immune systems. Of course I don't know whether you're positive or not. But my take away from your statement is that you have negative opinions toward people that are.

Please try to remember that words hurt. Obvious by the recent outbreaks of gay teenage suicides. Try to remember the very words out of the Bible that I hear you thumping way over here. Doesn't Jesus talk about love and about showing love in spite of your own feelings. Look inside brother. You're full of hate, and pain. Pain that might be hurting you so much that you feel the need to lash out at others.

I think you're wrong about Mondo, even if for personal reasons, he used the platform that was available to him to educate others, a point well missed by you.

I wonder if you've taken the time to reflect on your reaction? I'm not going to say that Mondo should be seeing a therapist that's his choice, he actually looks and sounds very well adjusted. But by your reaction, I would suggest you see someone quick. Face the demons that are so squarely sitting on your shoulders and purge yourself of the anger within you; and by that I don't mean go talk to your minister, they've already done enough damage, I mean a certified, licensed therapist. Hopefully, you could learn to deal with whatever it is that is bothering you so much.

Good luck.

A Buddhist prayer for compassion and forgiveness.

Start with yourself and reflect quietly on these statements:

May I be happy.
May I be safe.
May I be healthy.
May I find peace.

Say this to yourself several times a day. When you are ready, think of someone who has caused you harm. Repeat the prayer, only with them on your mind.

May you be happy
May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you find peace.

Repeat that to yourself several times a day. Until you feel you've made space in your heart to let go of your anger.

Then concentrate on:

I forgive all who have intentionally or unintentionally caused me harm.

I forgive myself for causing harm anyone either intentionally or unintentionally.

May I forgive myself.
I forgive you.

Try to start to see that everyone suffers in this world at some point or another. Why add to suffering? It always comes back to you. This is not easy to do, and can be very challenging at times, but the alternative, is to live with anger and hatred. Which only brings the same to you.

Peace.

Right on Mondo.. your the new leaders us oldtimers have done all we can. We need new blood to take over and keep the fires burning to end this pandemic. Kudos! Patrick

Thand you Mondo. As a 23 year old HIV positive guy I'm thrilled to see a young guy competing for his dream to be a designer and also creating awareness that HIV has young faces. And that we are absolute in our resolve to have productive and wonderful lives. I am coming in to terms with HIV and your courage and sincerity it is inspiring!

Hoorah Mondo, there is hope for me too if you can come out of your status, then so can I. I'm overweight and black, dealing with this with my partner who is not supportive. At least we can find a different perspective with your blog!!!

Although you (Mondo) had the audacity to show a transmisogynistic attitude in the Jacqueline Kennedy challenge by calling transsexual women "trannies", you're still my favorite designer, and I wish you well in your future endeavors & your health in general.

All the best,

Erin (post-op transsexual woman since 1999)

I have to say this episode was amazingly emotional to watch. I was crying for the whole first half.

Mondo - you have surprised me throughout the season. The depth of character you have shown, your ability to give other's a chance, and your willingness to tell your story openly and honestly really is impressive.

I watch Project Runway for entertainment value, but your presence this season makes me feel proud to be an openly positive gay man. Your bravery is contagious and will affect others.

Thank you.

the really sad fact is that this young person has HIV and more and more young people are becoming infected. Education is not working. Fear of becoming poz is not working. Not sure what the answer is. I have been poz for over 25 years and maybe still very traumatized from my journey....but if i had all the information that has been available for the last 15 years there is no in hell I would be infected today. I mean its like there really is NO excuse to become infected anymore. How hard is to practice safe sex.?????? This persons story just reinforces the fact that none of the strategies are working.

Chuck, you DON'T have to be traumatized by the fact of having this-try hypnosis, go to reliable trusted one and use this ancient safe technique to rid of of the anxiety/fears, etc. May take 1 or 2 attempts, but it sure has worked for me in many aspects of dealing with stress/stigma. Any comments?...

As a person who has lived with hiv 12 years. I am a human being, not a number to my doctor, employer, or to my family. I can not believe people like you still believe in what you do. However, each one of us is entitled to our own beliefs. I am a productive person in societ. I work two jobs, attending college full-time and rasing family. So even though this has been life changing. I know that the people and friends that I have met on this life journey will be with me forever. I celebrate life not the fact that I have hiv. God bless all of us, who are warriors in this fight.

While I think it's great when someone in the public eye is open about being poz, I do have to say that it does seem to come off as a little calculated. I mean how many other people have done this on shows already? Jack Mackenroth did this already in Season Four when an infection caused him to leave. Ongina from Rupaul's Drag Race did it when there was a challenge that involved Mac AIDS fund. It just seemed to be for sympathy and airtime to me. But it's just my opinion and I could be wrong.

I think that each of us with Hiv owe something to all of the others who have passed before us from this disease. Sometimes it has been to my demise to be open about my status. I have slowly seen change, but without us who wish to share our status; there would even be more silence. We can't afford to be quiet. Talking aloud gives you a sense of doing some small part for this cause. Coming out about my status has helped me to be stronger person. I refuse to let shame, prejudice and fear hold me back. For those who don't wish to be open about it, I also understand.
The bottom line is I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Someone will listen and many won't and they will end up sick like all of us. I know just my small part has made people think twice but to have the chance to share in front of millions.........incredible and powerful. He deserves a big hug from all of us...............

Mondo.. Thanks for having the courage to share. It is always difficult to let it go and to stop holding it to ones self. This inspired a great conversation with my 13 year old niece after we both had watched the show.. So thanks again !!

Mondo,
I just want to thank you. I think your revailing your status of being hiv+ takes alot of courage and you should be very proud of yourself. I think you have a great talent and a very strong and positive attitude which I believe will take you very far in you career as a designer. This is coming from someone a person who has been hiv+ for 13 years now and has never "Knock On Wood" have had to take any hiv meds. I really applaude you for your strength, honesty, and courage. God Bless and I believe and wish that you have an amazing career ahead of you.

Hey Stupid,
This guy declared his position not for fame or glory but to bring awarness to the public about HIV, HIV AFFECTS EVERYBODY so the more people who are made aware the better. In the world that you live in you must walk about with blinkers on as there is still huge resentment for people living with HIV. smell the coffee my friend.

You go Mondo. Not only do you make gorgeous clothes but you are beautiful inside and out. I applaud you.

Mondo, you have courage and grace! May all your dreams come true because you represent freedom in its truest sense!

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This page contains a single entry by Mondo Guerra published on October 6, 2010 3:35 PM.

L'Oreal Paris: Episode 9 was the previous entry in this blog.

Heidi Klum: Episode 11 is the next entry in this blog.

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