Excerpt from gratzindustries.blogspot.com

I hated to go but It was only going to get worse and I couldn’t endanger the other designers. So sad. Please don’t forget me. I was hospitalized for 5 days so I had no choice but to withdraw. I needed IV antibiotics around the clock. Thank you for all the well wishes. I am FULLY recovered. And actually some of the “talking head” clips were actually filmed after I got out of the hospital. Here’s the quote:

“It is a medical issue that Jack will face this week, but he tells us right up front it has nothing to do with him being HIV-positive–explaining that his immune system is not suppressed. But we’ll get to what he doesn’t have in a moment. What he does have is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or “MRSA” for short.
MRSA, according to Wikipedia,
is a resistant variation of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It’s also sometimes referred to as the “superbug,” as the combination of natural selection and over-prescribed antibiotic treatments has created a bacterium that’s stronger than anything we have to fight it with. (See? And you thought you were just tuning in to hear about darts and pleats.) Translation: the thing is as tough to kill as that shape-shifting metal robot in Terminator 2.

There are two strains of MRSA, one you typically get in hospitals where lots of people are sick and lots of people have open wounds, and one found in communities where sick people and wounded people aren’t usually in the room next door. Strangely, it’s the communal variety that’s the most dangerous. We don’t know from the brief clip which strain Jack has or where he got it, but if it’s the communal variety there’s more of a danger other people working in very close proximity could get infected.

Wikipedia does say that “current US guidance does not require workers in general workplaces (not healthcare facilities) with MRSA infections to be routinely excluded from going to work,” although it also notes that “workers with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur until their infections are healed.” Let’s see, does carrying Christian around on your back in the workroom count? And when the presentation of symptoms can include things like “pus-filled boils,” “rashes,” and can lead to “flesh-eating pneumonia,” I think Jack and the producers probably decided to err on the side of caution.

As to what Jack doesn’t have: he doesn’t have AIDS. Jack has said that he is HIV-positive, but that’s not the same thing. Most HIV cases left untreated eventually lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), but treatments with retrovirals (i.e. that big bag of pill bottles Jack has with him) have radically increased the life-expectancy for HIV victims. People with weakened immune systems caused by AIDS are at greater risk for catching MRSA, but from what Jack’s told us there’s no connection between his HIV and his MRSA. The guy’s just incredibly unlucky.

And so are his fans. While some viewers have noted that Jack’s condition may not actually mean he has to leave the show for good, I think the clips are a prelude to Jack announcing that he is withdrawing from the competition. He’s got his hand to his nose all morning before meeting Heidi on the runway, and he wonders aloud if he can sew with one hand. Contagious or not, Jack’s affliction would make it incredibly difficult for him to produce under the kind of pressure and deadlines required by Project Runway.


22 Responses to “Excerpt from gratzindustries.blogspot.com”

  1. Jiffyney Amber Theissen Says:

    I can’t imaging watching myself go though that but visibility is so important, more now than ever. Its amazing and really hard to be as honest you have been – I’m really, really proud of you. MUAAAH!!!!


  2. Best of luck to you, sweetie! I’m a nurse, and have seen what a bitch MRSA is. I’m glad to find out that you are doing well. I am so proud of you for living your life and for doing such a good job in taking care of yourself. It CAN be lived with, as you have shown us. Keep your chin up and know that you are in my prayers.

  3. I don’t think anyone will be forgetting you any time soon, Jack – you’re just too talented for that to happen! Glad you’ve recovered. You’re still a huge inspiration (god, I hate that word – congratulations, you’ve moved me to triteness!) to myself and many others. 🙂

  4. Thanks for being such a gentleman and sharing these things as you did on last night’s Project Runway and here on your blog. There was a lot of love for you demonstrated in that show last night, and it was uplifting to watch. Your time there was obviously very important to everyone involved.

    Thank you for being so self-disclosing and honest, and speaking frankly to our idiot curiosity.

    What I like especially is that you are not self-pitying or self-indulgent, just honest. It’s unsung bravery to be upright with people when you have a problem that most people shy away from, like being HIV+ and having a very public medical problem (like your face swelling up), HIV related or not. I don’t mean to embarrass you by gushing, but I truly appreciate what you do.

    Good luck to you, and I know we will hear from you again soon. (Also, best of luck to you and Dale…I thought Dale was wonderful on Top Chef, an inspiring man, a thinker, a spiritual person and a delightful and warm personality. Perhaps you two will make beautiful music together and, at the very least, become warm friends.)

    There is a lot of love out here in flyover country and I wish you the best.

  5. Was in tears as you made your exit last night, am in tears as I re-watch the episode now. My hope is that as they brought back Chris, it was somehow possible to bring you back into the competition as well and will keep hoping to see that happen!

    Much love to you and Dale!

  6. I was very sad to see you go so early but am also very happy that you are fully recovered.

    Your honesty in the face of illness is refreshing. It sure beats feeling sorry for oneself indefinitely. It is obviously a choice that you have made to be this way and have this kind of attitude towards the hardships in life so I thank you for your example.

  7. Jack, it was a real shame to see you go on PR. You’ve been kind and gracious through the whole series, and you frankness about your HIV status is inspiring and important. You did yourself proud, and I’m thrilled to hear that you’ve recovered from your infection. All the best to you.

  8. I, too, was in tears when I watched your last episode last night. But I do think you have embedded yourself in people’s hearts in ways that your competitors will never do. You ARE an inspiration. And the Flashdance video is well done!

  9. Nicole Powers Says:

    Hi Jack, I understand exactly what you were going through. I’ve had two MRSA infections this year. One in my face (the left side of my face looked like I had a tennis ball inside of it), and then another the size of a softball under my arm. I, too, had to be hospitalized but I also had to have the one under my arm surgically removed. I’m so glad you got the medical attention…they can kill even a healthy person (I know, I nearly died from the one under my arm…however, unlike you I have a supressed immune system because of my M.S. and asthma…I’ve been on prednisone for four years…so the MRSA basically took over)! You did the right thing taking care of you. You are so much more important than any competition. I was so sad to see you go as you were my favorite…but I just know I’ll be seeing MUCH MUCH more of you!

    And how awesome for you and Dale. He was my favorite on Top Chef (as soon as he made his peroghi I was in love…I’m Ukranian so I was like, “That’s it…he’s my fave.”). My two faves a couple…YAY!!!

    Best wishes to you and Dale.

    Much love and God Bless

  10. Thank you for actually bringing REALITY to reality T.V.

    all too often I see these boring ordinary people who have to act out to make the program interesting polluting my television screen with horrible renditions of what we are suppose to believe is real life

    when you revealed that you were HIV positive I thought it showed your perseverance and that alone told me you would be a very strong competitor. Then when you contracted staph it left me in a bout of emotion I had yet to experience from a show like project runway. Just knowing you had to leave this once in a lifetime chance made me so upset.

    I understand why you left the show and I am very happy you have fully recovered as your health is a lot more important than any design you could of come up with under the circumstances

    thank you for being such an amazing person I look forward to seeing your career take off best of luck in the future!

    love always,

  11. I’m glad you’re better. What a scary time for you, and unfortunate timing. But life is crazy that way.

    I saw your funny dance video on Project Rungay. Loved it! I think you’re the most fun person to EVER graduate from UC Berkeley. Smart , wise and you’re comfortable with yourself. Very, very cool.


  13. Jack — I was devastated to see you go on PR just now; you are immensely talented and I was so excited to see what you would do with that bizarre green houndstooth blazer!

    Still, it is great to know you’re healthy and doing well. If anything, your time on PR demonstrated a true, refreshing depiction of someone HEALTHY living candidly with HIV. You helped a lot of people who got to know you because they love fashion think about something more; their own prejudices.

    I hope to see much more of you, as both a fantastic designer and advocate for awareness.


  14. Dear Jack:

    Just wanted to send a note of support. My cousin (and best friend) has been pos since 1998. I’ve seen horse needles of steroids and antibiotics go into his hip after a slowly healing cut several years ago. He’s better now, now that he’s taking his cocktail. He’s moving to Milwalkee in February. It will be hard to be in another time zone than he is. I’ve been thinking of him more this week. I think I’ll call him when I get done here.

    Thank you for being brave, confident, and wonderful.

    May all your dreams come true.

  15. Jack,

    I’ve started an online petition to get you back on the show next season. I hope it works. Here is the link:



  16. thank you for giving HIV- Poz people sucha good name. I have been POz for 5 years and i think you are great.

  17. […] The question that seems to be on a lot of people’s minds is whether or not Jack being HIV-positive had anything to do with his MRSA. The answer is probably not — definitely not, according to Jack. […]

  18. Jack, you’re amazing. I’m glad you’re doing better. I was really impressed with the way you helped many of the other designers complete the mens wear challenge. I hope we’ll be seeing more of you in the future!

  19. Chris Armistead Says:

    Hi Jack,

    I not only saw the episode in which you announced your departure, but I found your interview in HIVPlus magazine at my doctor’s office last week – loved it so much I took the copy home to share with my partner. Thanks for being you.

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  21. The style of writing is quite familiar . Have you written guest posts for other bloggers?

  22. I’ve started an online petition to get you back on the show next season. I hope it works. Here is the link:

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