(CNN) – As part of “Anderson Cooper 360°’s” special “Hope Survives: 30 Years of AIDS” – which marks the 30th anniversary of the very first AIDS diagnosis – “Project Runway” star Mondo Guerra will open up about living with HIV.
Guerra will join guests including Sir Elton John, Sharon Stone, Mo’nique and many others for the hour-long program airing Friday, which will focus on stigmas surrounding HIV/AIDS, how various methods of prevention may perhaps have ended the spread of the disease years ago and take a look at recent medical research and breakthroughs.
Related: Visit Greater Than AIDS for answers to frequently asked questions about HIV/AIDS, as well as information about local testing centers.
Guerra, who is HIV positive, spoke to CNN about the challenges he faces daily, his hopes for the future and, of course, fashion.
CNN: On your website, you wrote a message to your readers asking them to take time to remember the challenges of those living with HIV/AIDS. What are some of your own challenges?
Guerra: My biggest challenge is just [being] responsible and taking my meds every day.
That’s the hardest thing to get into the routine of – reminding yourself religiously to take your meds. It’s hard because it is just one [medication], but it’s really easy to forget and once you kind of fall off the horse, it’s rougher to get back on. If you miss a day or you miss two days, you take it again and then it’s kind of almost like starting over again – there’s going to be more side affects.
CNN: What are some of the stigmas about AIDS that bother you the most?
Guerra: A lot of people think that it’s still just a gay man’s disease, which is quite bothersome. Yes, I am a gay man, but there are other people who have been infected and who are suffering from this and I think that ignorance alone lends itself to spreading the disease.
I also feel like people don’t care to talk about it anymore because there has been some bit of progress in the research and I feel as if people maybe think it’s been taken care of. Yes, there are meds that are keeping people alive for years upon years; but with all the side affects and opportunities for other infections – when you have an immune deficiency it can really hurt you.