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Dress You Up in His Love: Mondo Guerra Designs HIV Community-Inspired Dress for World AIDS Day

December 1, 2012

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As a fashion designer, you get to combine your passion for fashion and design with your passion for HIV advocacy. What would you say to other people who want to pursue their passion while also working to advocate for HIV?

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I think, if you're living with HIV, it's really easy to lose focus. I think there's such a huge emotional attachment to HIV. Yes, there's a huge responsibility to be healthy, physically, but there's also a huge responsibility to be healthy emotionally. I can tell you that, from my personal experience, that once I started taking the steps to be proactive in my physical life, it led to my happiness emotionally. You have to have that foundation of being happy physically to be able to go on and do your best work at the stuff that you really love to do from your day to day. Whether you're a banker or a painter or a baseball player or a fashion designer, it's all relative. You always have to be 100 percent on your physical to have that emotion to continue your passion. And I think there has to be a lot of patience when achieving your goals. I always am a goal-oriented person, and I always tend to knock a little off the block every time I'm moving forward. Just set your goal and look forward to it, but you have to have that goal of achieving your physical happiness, that's really important. And if you go to the website, ProjectIDesign.com, there's a checklist, a friendly reminder, to just remind you to ask about these questions and it gives you all the information that really prepares you to steer yourself in the right direction. We've really revamped the website in the last couple of months, so there's some stuff that shows the dress and the mural pictures from the USCA. Also, there's a new video with Dr. Michael Gottlieb and it's just really getting interactive and interesting, so if you have visited the website, make sure to revisit it, because it's a whole new, fresh website.

Your dress represents the three steps, or parts, of a fully realized relationship with your physician, which are "laying the foundation," "personalization" and "finishing touches." How has your own relationship with your doctor shaped the campaign and those three steps?

My foundation was realizing that I am HIV positive. For a long time, I was in denial, and HIV was defining who I was, not only as a person but as a creative person. So when I opened that dialogue with my doctor, that was my foundation. She knew that I was interested in being proactive and really finding out what's going on with me. Then the details are just all that information that she gives to me and all the information that I give to her. It isn't all about just my physical HIV. It's about my emotional, it's about my relationships; it's about everything. Your doctor should be somebody that you can trust and go into their office and talk about anything. I can tell you I talk to my doctor about everything. And the finishing touch, you know, is going home, taking that information, and doing your treatment.

Is there anything you want to add?

If you checked out the website, check it out again. You will see the dress, make sure to watch the video with Dr. Gottlieb, and download your checklist for sure! Even if you don't use it, download it; tape it to your bathroom mirror, and remind yourself of these questions that you want to ask your doctor.

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.


Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
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See Also
World AIDS Day 2012: Features and News

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