Project Runway Designer Joins Philly AIDS Walk

Living Positive by Design's Jack Mackenroth will attend Sunday's event

Courtesy of amfAR

He got a taste of fame on reality television. And now he wants to spread the message that people living with HIV can lead positive lives. Jack Mackenroth – an alum of the hit reality TV show Project Runway – will be at the AIDS Walk on Sunday (Oct. 16) to promote a new HIV education campaign Living Positive by Design.

It couldn’t come at a better time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S., and an estimated 56,300 Americans become infected each year. Philly has especially been hard hit by the disease.

Sponsored by Merck, the campaign not only encourages people to get tested, but it inspires HIV-positive people to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with doctors to manage their disease. The campaign is taking Mackenroth – who also regularly participates in these events with fellow Project Runway designer Mondo Guerra – all over the country.

“I was diagnosed with HIV more than 20 years ago, and my life is a testament to the fact that it is important for people living with HIV to discuss their overall health with their doctors, as many of us are dealing with a variety of concerns beyond HIV,” says Mackenroth. “It’s also important for people living with HIV today to work with their doctor to find a treatment regimen that works best for them.”

Mackenroth, who participated in a 2012 “Calendar for a Cure” fundraiser with amfAR, will be at Eakins Oval at the Philadelphia Art Museum starting at 8:30 a.m. when the AIDS Walk kicks off this weekend. He also recently took part in the AIDS Walk in New York City, one of the largest AIDS fundraising campaigns in the country. He’ll be joined by William R. Short, M.D., MPH, from Thomas Jefferson University who will discuss the current landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.

“There are many different treatment options available today,” says Short. “People with HIV should work with their doctor to find a treatment regimen that is right for them. We hope to educate the people living with HIV in Philadelphia about the importance of disease management.”