Mondo Guerra and Jack Mackenroth of “Project Runway” Bring National HIV Education Campaign to Chicago for the US AIDS Conference


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Project Runway Stars to Celebrate Fourth Year of Living Positive By Design Campaign at USCA

┬áCHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Mondo Guerra, a contestant in the upcoming “All Stars” season of the hit television show “Project Runway,” and fellow designer and “Project Runway” alum Jack Mackenroth, are bringing their HIV campaign, Living Positive By Design, to Chicago for the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) this week. At USCA, the pair will be meeting with attendees to share their story, and encourage attendees to participate in activities at the conference that express how they each are Living Positive By Design. Guerra will also participate in the opening plenary session, which addresses HIV issues that are faced by gay men. Living Positive By Design is a partnership with Merck, and encourages people living with HIV to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with their doctor to manage their disease.

“Only one year after finding the courage to disclose my HIV-positive status on national television on ‘Project Runway,’ I am proud to be bringing Living Positive By Design to USCA, and fighting the stigma associated with HIV,” said Guerra. “I hid my HIV-positive status for ten years, but since my disclosure, I feel that the community has shown me incredible support. This will be my first time participating in the largest HIV gathering in the country, and I hope to encourage others living with HIV to maintain a positive outlook on life.”

USCA runs from November 10-13, and brings together over 2,500 workers from all fronts of the HIV epidemic. The conference is organized by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), an organization which represents a coalition of 3,000 faith- and community-based organizations and AIDS service organizations (ASOs) nationwide. The Living Positive By Design campaign was originally launched at USCA in 2008.

“I am always inspired by the passion I see at USCA each year, and am proud to bring Living Positive By Design back to this event for the fourth consecutive year,” said Mackenroth. “I enjoy learning about people’s personal journeys with HIV and meeting with members of the community. Many of us have concerns beyond our HIV, so it’s important for people living with HIV to work closely with their doctor to discuss their overall health, as well as to find a treatment regimen that works best for them.”

About Living Positive By Design

Living Positive By Design is an HIV education campaign supported by Merck that encourages people living with the disease to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with their doctor to manage their disease. The campaign underscores the importance for people living with HIV to talk with their doctor about important goals of treatment, including achieving an undetectable viral load and increasing CD4 cell counts. It is also important to consider side effects from medications, as they may make staying on therapy more difficult. HIV-positive people should work with their doctor if they have any concerns to find options that work best for them. Because today many HIV-positive people may be dealing with a variety of health concerns beyond their HIV, it is important to discuss overall health and any health concerns when talking with doctors about HIV treatment options. For more information on Living Positive By Design, please visit .

Prevalence of HIV and AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States and an estimated 56,300 Americans become infected every year. Since the beginning of the epidemic, there have been over 32,000 cases of HIV reported in Chicago, with over 20,000 people currently living with the disease in the city.

About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

SOURCE Living Positive By Design




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