Mondo Guerra of "Project Runway" Kicks Off National HIV Education Campaign at AIDS Walk New York - The World's Largest AIDS Fundraising Event

NEW YORK, May 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mondo Guerra, a finalist from last season's hit television show "Project Runway," joins fellow designer and show alum Jack Mackenroth for the national HIV education campaign Living Positive By Design, which encourages people living with HIV to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with their doctor to manage their disease.  Guerra and Mackenroth will come together for the first time this Sunday, May 15, 2011, at AIDS Walk New York, the world's largest HIV/AIDS fundraising event, benefiting several AIDS service organizations (ASOs) in the area.  Living Positive By Design is supported by Merck.  

"New York City is the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the country, and AIDS Walk New York serves to support valuable groups that are fighting the disease," said Guerra.  "I didn't disclose my HIV-positive status for a decade due to stigma, which is why I'm proud to join Living Positive By Design to inspire people living with the disease to maintain a positive outlook on life."

AIDS Walk New York, now in its 26th year, is part of the national AIDS Walk movement, which has raised more than a half-billion dollars nationwide for ASOs across the country, including GMHC. GMHC is the oldest ASO in the country and is expanding its services this year at their new, larger facilities. At the event, kicking off in New York City's Central Park, Guerra will address the crowd of thousands and team up with Mackenroth to lead the Living Positive By Design walk team.  

"I was diagnosed with HIV more than 20 years ago, and my life is a testament to the fact that it is important for people living with HIV to discuss their overall health with their doctors, as many of us are dealing with a variety of concerns beyond HIV," said Mackenroth.  "It's also important for people living with HIV today to work with their doctor 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 www.LivingPositiveByDesign.com.

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. More than 107,000 New York City residents are living with HIV.  In New York City, the AIDS case rate is almost three times the national average, and HIV is the third leading cause of death in New York City for residents aged 35 to 54.

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 www.merck.com.

Media Contacts:

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SOURCE Living Positive By Design



RELATED LINKS
http://www.LivingPositiveByDesign.com

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