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Jack Mackenroth explains why he’s taking a break from HIV activism

Written by gaytourism

Jack Mackenroth | Photo: Instagram/jackmackenroth

Jack Mackenroth is standing down from HIV activism for the first time since revealing he’s HIV positive 10 years ago.

The former Project Runway star confirms he is ‘moving away from the nonprofit sector’ in a new interview.

The model furthermore points out that those working in it are often ‘overworked and underpaid’.

‘Like teachers, people expect that we should basically volunteer our services because we are doing important work,’ he said.

‘I’m getting really close to 50, and I can’t be hoofing it all the time. It’s [also] relatively thankless work. I’m not doing it for accolades, but everyone likes… to feel like something beneficial is coming from your job.’

‘HIV conversation had virtually disappeared from mainstream television’

Jack, who found fame on season four of Project Runway, furthermore told Plus: ‘I thought I was going to die at 25. My boyfriend died at 27. Until my mid-30s, I was like: “Why should I have a 401k?” I wasn’t planning ahead. It’s been over the past decade, where I’m like, “I’m going to live. I need to plan for the future.”

He goes on to explain that this is why he returned to university to to get a degree in nursing, while admitting that, as a user of social media, he will never leave activism behind completely.

Jack’s work over the last decade has included a two-year stint working at the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, five years working on HIV awareness campaign Living Positive by Design.

He also raised $52,000 (£39,292, €44,613) for Braking AIDS Ride, reports the publication.

Reflecting on his career, Jack told GSN: ‘There have certainly been many detrimental ramifications for being so blatantly out about my positive HIV status for such a long time – guys who wouldn’t touch me, people saying I probably deserved it because I they assumed I was a slut…on and on.

‘But what people don’t know is that I have thousands of letters and emails and social media messages from people whose lives I’ve changed and even saved from suicide by just being visible. I still coach many people all over the world on a daily basis. Most of them I will never meet.’

In 2012, Jack also launched a social networking site for HIV positive men.

He said at the time of ‘We are much more than a hookup site. We provide an alternative for HIV positive men who often feel stigmatized and discriminated against on the other sites.’

He moreover added: ‘As the site develops and grows, we will incorporate features like forums and blogs that will strengthen a sense of community and acceptance.’

The 12 LGBTI beauties of Christmas: Jack Mackenroth – in pictures

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