Makenroth is just one of the men featured in the article ’10 Amazing HIV-Positive Gay Men’ from HIV Plus magazine.
But priorities changed for Mackenroth in 2007, when he became a contestant on Project Runway’s fourth season. He was never in the bottom three, and in episode 3 he won the menswear challenge. He was a designer to beat. Then in episode 5, Mackenroth became the first designer to leave Project Runway for medical reasons; he had developed a contagious drug-resistant staph infection. Mackenroth came out to his castmates—and America—about being HIV-positive and needing to take extra care with his health. He left the show, spent a week in a hospital, and found his calling.
Today, Mackenroth, who still designs, especially for charity (in 2008 he created a wedding gown made entirely of condoms for San Francisco’s Project Inform), is an HIV activist and one of the few HIV-positive celebrities who uses his status to change how people think about HIV. He’s worked with a number of HIV/AIDS charities, and now he’s started a dating site for HIV-positive men, Volttage.