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This Positive Life: Mondo Guerra of Project Runway Talks About Living With HIV and the Power of Disclosure

October 19, 2010

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So when the cameras had turned off, what did your cast mates say? Did they hug you? Did they tell you how proud they were of you, how courageous you were?

I got that all from them. They really admired my courage and they complimented me on how strong I was and how I wasn't trying to make it a huge issue -- just how I handled the whole situation. It was nice. And when we walked upstairs after taping that, the producers are always behind closed doors. You can never really see them. Some of them came out and said, "Wow, we didn't expect that. We can't believe you just did that."

And for some reason, I couldn't believe that I had just went there either, but I didn't really care. I felt so good about what happened. There was no turning back at that point. Anything that was going to be in my way next, I was ready for.

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So that was kind of the precursor to you talking to your family about your status?

Yeah. The thing about it is, after I did it and after I had a couple of days to really think about it, I started psyching myself out again. Because I had to come back home knowing my disclosure was filmed and was airing, and I had to tell my parents before it aired. That was a lot of pressure and it scared me. I think the pressure of that added so much fear to the situation. I didn't actually sit down with my mom and my dad until the Monday before that episode aired, so I was really avoiding it.

Can you walk us through that moment?

My mom and my dad really supported my decision to do it. They knew that I had been sick for such a long time, so they kind of had an idea. They basically told me that it can be scary and that our family is based on unconditional love, and we'll get through it. We'll just move on.

What advice would you give to anyone who's just been diagnosed with HIV?

Don't give up. Find somebody you can trust and confide in. Don't doubt what you can accomplish because life goes on. You can conquer this, 100 percent.

Thank you so much. Everyone at TheBody.com wishes you luck at Fashion Week. We hope you win.

Will Mondo win Season 8 of Project Runway? Watch part one of the season finale this Thursday, Oct. 21, on Lifetime.

Watch Mondo's on-air disclosure below:

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Kellee Terrell is the former news editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.


Copyright © 2010 The HealthCentral Network, Inc. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBody.com. It is a part of the publication This Positive Life.
 
See Also
Project Disclosure: Mondo Guerra Announces He Is HIV Positive
TheBody.com's Just Diagnosed Resource Center
Telling Others You're HIV Positive
More Personal Accounts of HIV Disclosure

Reader Comments:

Comment by: faith (washingtom) Mon., Dec. 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm EST
Iam so happy that you able to do this may God help you though your problem
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Comment by: Dave (NJ) Wed., Nov. 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm EST
Mondo loved, loved your blog! Good for you to have the courage to disclose. Your experience with this disease is, unfortunately, well known to those of us whom are also positive. Your blog was very refreshing. Good for you; wishing you well and much success. Love
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Miriam Martin (Vancouver, BC) Tue., Nov. 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm EDT
Love love love Mondo! As an HIV educator (for Positive Women's Network http://www.pwn.bc.ca) and a Project Runway fan, I also cried my way through the "disclosure" episode. Mondo, I'm thrilled to hear that you felt supported by the producers and contestants. Thanks for this interview.
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Comment by: Imannol (FL) Tue., Oct. 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm EDT
I just tested positive 4 months ago, and I am 42. I do not think age makes a different in the inpact in your life when you get a desease. I passed though similar situation, but my doctor suggested that I start medication right away, I do not know if that was the right thing but I did it. I have been weak all my life, so I have to trust him. Even after being careful, it seems that I got infected through surgery, but it is hard to say, because the guy that I was dating early this year cheated on me, because there is no legal comitment about it to makes us more resposible in our actions. I do not want to get married, but I can see how important is to take legal resposibility in your behaivor now.
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Comment by: Marc C. (Los angeles, CA) Sat., Oct. 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm EDT
also being latino and being poz for 20 yrs..you really re-inspired to take a look again at myself..thank you Mondo! I wish you were in LA! your heart is your strength..
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Comment by: Neal (SW Michigan) Thu., Oct. 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm EDT
I have been watching Mondo grow in his confidence on this show and when he disclosed his status I wanted to give my encouragement and support in his HIV struggle. I have been poz since 2003 and can understand Mondo's feelings and concerns. Would love to get in contact with him and become good friends. This article will be good for all to read. Best wishes and luck to Mondo and his future successes.

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Comment by: blake (Nigeria) Thu., Oct. 21, 2010 at 6:04 am EDT
i became hiv positive last week. i havent told anyone.
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Comment by: CK (Botswana) Thu., Oct. 21, 2010 at 4:17 am EDT
Has your HIV status affected your career, if so how?
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Comment by: John B. (Austin, Texas) Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm EDT
I picked you on show #2 to get to fashion week even though you had a slow (ok abysmal) start, I 'saw' you and called you out so go kick some butt on that runway and THANK YOU for EVERYTHING! I hope one day to summon the courage to also not live with the wall of cowardice and find my inner Gods to lead me to freedom, grace, and love once again. Hope to see you there! *Big hugs* John
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Comment by: Alfred V. (Memphis, TN) Wed., Oct. 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm EDT
I am also HIV+ and I just want to say "Way to go Mondo!" :-)
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