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Jack Mackenroth Offers Insight into Dale Levitski Reality Romance

Project Runway's Jack Mackenroth, who revealed his positive HIV status on last week's episode of the show, offered some clarification on his blog as to his new boyfriend Dale's negative HIV status in order to clear up misconceptions about HIV and rumors on the internet.

JackanddaleSaid Jack on his blog: "I guess there are a lot of rumblings in the blogosphere about me and Dale and some concerns about our different HIV status. First I think its interesting that people just assume he is HIV negative–which he is. Just an observation. Anyway–I feel the need to address the issue since I am so open about my status. First of all safer sex is VERY easy to practice and doesn’t detract from the experience in any way. Beyond that if you are educated about HIV then you know that there are a myriad of things that two people of different HIV status can do sexually with no risk. I’m not going to delve into our sexual proclivities but all is good on the Jack/Dale front. Furthermore my viral load is undetectable which means that when they do a blood test they are unable to find any virus in my blood. That low level of HIV is due to the medication I take and regularly monitoring my status. This combined with safer sex practices allows two people with different HIV status to have a full, healthy relationship. I would also like to add that in the past I had 2 boyfriends for two years each and both of them were and are still HIV negative. Thanks!"

Me and Dale [jack mackenroth]

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  1. Good for them for working throught that. Dale is a braver man than I. I couldn't do it. Of course, if I was positive I would be even more worried about having sex with another positive person. I'd be obsessed with becoming co-infected and super infected. It would stress me the hell out.

    Posted by: Matt | Dec 7, 2007 8:57:39 AM

  2. I don't find it odd esp. in the United States that people are so ignorant about hiv. I have been with my hiv+ partner for over 10 years. Of course only a few of my friends know because it becomes exhausting explaining why you would be in a relationship like that. I myself am - but we are very safe, with ourselves and with others if the situation arises. It becomes a lifestyle, you just do it.

    Posted by: bob | Dec 7, 2007 8:59:49 AM

  3. I've been in relationships with two people who are HIV+ and can happily say I haven't been infected. However, the psychological stress of having sex with someone you know is positive is really wrenching - at least it is for me. It proved more than I could handle and ultimately doomed both relationships. I just couldn't handle the cold sweats every time I got tested anymore. I hope they can get past it if they really are happy together.

    Posted by: MT | Dec 7, 2007 9:07:37 AM

  4. seems many TR readers would benefit from checking out and learning more (circa 2007) about HIV and practicing safer sex. most HIV is spread by people who are not aware of their + status and are not practicing safer sex. you can check it out in the privacy of your own home with out registering on the site.

    Posted by: thepasser | Dec 7, 2007 9:16:05 AM

  5. What a great opportunity to get information about HIV into the public discussion. Jack (and Dale) are doing a good thing. Best of luck to them.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 7, 2007 9:21:07 AM

  6. I have been HIV+ for over 21 years and I am happily and legally married to a wonderful man who is HIV-. I whole heartedly agree that “there are a myriad of things that two people of different HIV status can do sexually with no risk” … I think people look too much at the disadvantages of a sero-dischordant relationship and fail to see the opporunities for exploration beyond the wham bam thank you sir.

    Posted by: Joseph | Dec 7, 2007 9:25:07 AM

  7. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people here in Oklahoma who are still convinced that they can contract "AIDS" from a toilet seat. They don't even know the difference between HIV infection and AIDS. I blame the abstinence only crowd for preventing appropriate education.

    Posted by: AggieCowboy | Dec 7, 2007 9:33:51 AM

  8. brian

    I agree

    Good for them

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Dec 7, 2007 9:37:13 AM

  9. I am HIV neg and my partner of 3+ years is Poz and we have an amazingly hot sex life. For me it was about the person. I looked past his status and am happier than I have ever been. Being the neg one in a sero-dischordant relationship does not automatically mean cold sweats, etc. It really depends. My partners viral load is undetectable and is healthier than most people I know. In fact, he just completed his first triathlon. He's my hero.

    Posted by: Sean | Dec 7, 2007 9:37:18 AM

  10. I did check out, THEPASSER. I read it thoroughly, and it only left more questions in my mind than it answered. I even went so far as to see an AIDS specialist and have an extremely blunt and specific conversation about what's safe and what isn't. It's hard to get comfortable with any sexual practices when every sentence is caveated with 'this still carries some risk.' Let's face it. Nothing is certain. It 's up to you to do what is right for you, and your decisions shouldn't get you labeled as ignorant.

    Posted by: MT | Dec 7, 2007 9:39:39 AM

  11. Just as a general comment, I think it's important that we in the gay community do not allow ourselves to be defined by AIDS. Keep in mind that most gay men do not have AIDS. Yes, it's important to care for those who have it but let's not let it characterize who we are.

    Posted by: jason | Dec 7, 2007 9:42:40 AM

  12. There's a lot of evidence that HIV does not cause AIDS. The real cause of AIDS is drug use combined with conventional venereal diseases (eg gonorrhea, herpes) and hard partying. All these factors combine to lower immunity. The reason gay people latched onto HIV as a cause of AIDS is because many gay people did not want to take responsibility for their over-the-top lifestyles.

    Posted by: michael | Dec 7, 2007 9:46:53 AM

  13. "The real cause of AIDS is drug use combined with conventional venereal diseases (eg gonorrhea, herpes) and hard partying."

    Are you kidding me? You, actually believe that? If that's the case then explain to me if you can the tens of thousands of AIDS deaths that occur in AFRICA every year? I never realized that hard partying and drug use was so prevalent there.

    Posted by: Tom | Dec 7, 2007 10:01:54 AM

  14. Thank you, Tom, I worked with a person who believed the same thing that Michael is asserting. She was friends with Dave Grohl and at the time he was buying into that belief and giving his friends literature about it. (Not sure if he still does.)

    I'm open-minded enough to listen to and ponder alternate theories and possibilities even if they go against what I think I already know, but this is something completely different.

    I almost see it as a holier-than-thou approach - it again puts the blame on those who develop AIDS because people can attribute it to drug use and "too much" sex.

    It's sad really. I think there is a LOT about HIV/AIDS that we don't know about and possibly aren't being told, and unfortunately that limited picture makes some people draw some irresponsible conclusions.

    So, guys - let me know when the next White Party - Africa is!

    Posted by: Rey | Dec 7, 2007 10:21:41 AM

  15. Uh . . . some of the statements here are more than a little alarming.

    Michael: HIV does cause AIDS. Yes, there are a number of co-factors that can aggravate retroviral infection and undermine immune resistance to disease, but they are not the infectious cause of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

    MT: If you are so paranoid about contracting HIV infection and AIDS through your sexual interactions, I hope you bring that same paranoia to your risk of contracting hepatitis C, syphilis, methacillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, papilloma virus/warts/anal cancer and a host of other diseases --- some of which haven't been discovered yet. Viruses and bacteria and mutations occur all the time --- HIV is only one piece of the sexual pie. Enjoy! But, be safe and sane about it, and bring some maturity, self esteem, compassion and insight into your relationships.

    I think Jack went way up in the ratings in my book. Clearing the air on HIV so publicly took guts; obviously, the readership (both here and on his blog) needed the clarification.

    Posted by: Richard | Dec 7, 2007 11:12:27 AM

  16. Am I the only one thinks that gay men (honestly everyone, but lets focus on us here), needs some kind of education, mentoring, intelligence-building, just SOMETHING that won't let us sound like total imbeciles when we feel compelled to post something like some of the above statements. Seriously, what kind of education do any of us have after we leave high school...meaning the real world nuts and bolts, important stuff? If you think about it, we learn about the adult world post high school/ college in a few main ways... from our friends/lovers (who honestly do you think you would get honest, direct answers about anything from?) and the news (which runs on hype, ratings, and the culture of fear). Add to this a whole new layer of "reality" television which is so far removed from reality it has thinking this is how people are/ should be.

    I cannot think of anyone as brave at Jack to come around in the last 15 years regarding HIV status. He picked up where Pedro Zamora left off. In his one blog post above, he has said more true, accurate statements to A WIDE RACHING AUDIENCE than anything on any news program could dream of, and we should all ber very proud of him. The news media is making HIV/AIDS so stigmatized that almost all you hear now is how awful it is in Africa. Well guess what, we don't live in Africa. We live here. Educate US here. Let's focus on OURSELVES. Healing from within is the best place to start. It's remarkable how much we as gay men don't know, and it's even sadder/ scarier to rely on displaced emotion to make rational decisions.

    Posted by: Jake | Dec 7, 2007 1:02:54 PM

  17. Actually let me add Larry Kramer to list.... Now boys, you might have to Wikipedia that name, and/or put down the venom you are about spit at your laptop when you see that name. I know he hasn't worked the wonders that Jake Gyllenhaal has but, regardless...he's kinda important

    Posted by: Marcus | Dec 7, 2007 1:15:15 PM

  18. With unprotected sex, if you bottom your chance of getting infected is about 1 in 50 (so if you have sex once per week you have a good chance to become infected within a year). If you top your risk is about 1 in 500. As an STD, almost all transmission is from anal sex, but oral sex has a risk of about 1 in 2000 to 1 in 10000. For public health measures this would also be considered high risk. There is no HIV in saliva (one of the few bodily fluids that doesn't carry the virus), but mouths tend to bleed and getting blood in your mouth is a bad idea. Even when viral blood counts approach zero, semen counts tend to remain high, thereby requiring safe sex regardless. Low blood counts do not stop the virus from causing damage to the central nervous system either, though it is thought that this is generally a slow process.

    Posted by: anon ( | Dec 7, 2007 2:29:01 PM

  19. Seriously, some of y'all be trippin hard up in here. Dealing with ignorance such as that displayed in this "discussion" is far more damaging to one's psyche than the quest to find a mature, compassionate, mate.

    This "discussion" runs a disturbing counterpoint to the one about the recent BSA news.

    Posted by: Princess Superstar | Dec 7, 2007 2:58:35 PM

  20. I share Princess' observations. I realize our public health officials are rather lame, but we all have computers, and we can all access Aidsmap in Great Britain, where the FACTS are available.


    It might also help if some in our community acted responsibly by not facilitating barebacking. Yes, it will occur "anyway," as will murder, but we don't have to facilitate it. And see my sight of Aidsmap about the fallacy of serosorting: It's Russian Roulette.

    Posted by: The Gay Species | Dec 7, 2007 3:43:47 PM

  21. "Seriously, some of y'all be trippin hard up in here."

    Truer words were never spoken, Princess.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 7, 2007 4:14:27 PM

  22. There's nothing ignorant or paranoid about your risk acceptance threshold being lower than taking on an HIV+ partner. Get over yourselves.

    HIV-'s don't OWE you a roll in the hay with them. Stop trying to guilt them into it by calling them ignorant or paranoid. That's intolerant and abusive. A portion have a higher risk threshold but many do not and you should respect them.

    Posted by: queendru | Dec 8, 2007 2:04:42 AM

  23. I'm far more worried about Dale keeping that ridiculous haircut than I am about his risk of HIV infection.

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 8, 2007 3:11:22 AM

  24. I agree with the comment that no one has to date anyone out of pity. We do live in a world where we can choose the path of least resistance if that is our nature and choice. You can not determine who should date who.

    I have wrestled with many issues: would I date someone overweight, hairy, unemployed, short, bodybuilder and the list goes on. So I am not surprised that someone chooses not to date someone who is HIV+. We all tend to move towards the familiar and the similar.

    As someone who is HIV+, someone who never did drugs, never partied, had 8 sexual partners. Always had safer sex and the condom broke; his viral load was very high (he was unaware of his status). We stayed together and never had a doubt of our love for one another. We confronted each other and moved together as our lives continued. I am HIV+.

    We both did all that we could; sure I know he should have been tested more often but this was 2003 and the every 3 months mantra was not as loud as it is now.

    I loved him we were together for 7 years. I do not question his fidelity as we worked out of our home together 14 hours a day. Also it is easy to believe that all gay men cheat but you know what you know and it is your truth.

    Sometimes the past has a way of being a part of your present and your future more than you can imagine. He is dead now; nope not from AIDS car accident...strange how that all happens. Not suicide, truck sideswiped him. You get that call and WOW you can not imagine where your head and heart goes. You have to call his parents; three times to make sure mom is not alone at home when you tell her. You claim a body in a morgue; get it to a funeral home, squeeze his hand one last time before he is cremated; all the while remaining like steel unyielding unflinching. It has been several years now and it is time to mold myself anew.

    I want to find someone who is similar to me in their HIV+ story. Nothing too dark, nothing to scarred and jaded... just it happened and now I want to get on with my life.

    Thanks Jack, it is nice to see someone out there on TV and one web bring light to being HIV+.

    Posted by: IamHIV+ | Dec 8, 2007 9:37:04 PM

  25. I'm neg with a neg hub, but I think it's terrific that a poz man like Jack can have a neg boyfriend. Of course, this says so much about Dale. And what a boyfriend to have.....Dale Levitski. Oh honey...WOOF!

    Posted by: Mick | Dec 30, 2007 9:12:06 PM

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