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Mondo Guerra of "Project Runway" Brings National HIV Education Campaign to Philadelphia to Co-Host the Region's Largest HIV/AIDS Public Awareness and Fundraising Event

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mondo Guerra, a contestant in the upcoming "All Stars" season of the hit television show "Project Runway," and fellow designer and show alum Jack Mackenroth, are bringing the national HIV education campaign Living Positive By Design to Philadelphia for AIDS Walk Philly, the Delaware Valley's largest annual HIV/AIDS public awareness and fundraising event.  Guerra will be co-hosting the Walk, which kicks off at Eakins Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 8:30 AM on Sunday.  Living Positive By Design, supported by Merck, encourages people living with HIV to maintain a positive outlook on life while working with their doctor to manage their disease.    

"I'm so proud to be able to bring Living Positive By Design back to Philadelphia, a city which has been impacted by the disease for almost three decades now," said Guerra.  "For over a decade, I didn't disclose my HIV-positive status because of stigma, and I'm honored to be able to lend my voice to this campaign to help combat the stigma associated with this disease and hopefully inspire people living with HIV to maintain a positive outlook on life."

Each year, thousands of people participate in AIDS Walk Philly, a walk-a-thon and 5K run organized by AIDS Fund, which raises money for 30 partner AIDS service organizations (ASOs) throughout the region.  AIDS Fund supports HIV education, prevention and services by raising money and increasing public awareness about the impact of HIV in the Delaware Valley.

"As someone who has been living with HIV for more than 22 years now, I know how important it is for people living with HIV to participate in an open dialogue with their doctors to not only find a treatment regimen that works best for them, but also to consider their overall health, as many of us have concerns beyond our HIV," said Mackenroth.  "Merck has been committed to the needs of people living with HIV for more than 25 years, and I'm proud to stand by their side in their hometown."  

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.  The overall prevalence of HIV cases is rising in Pennsylvania, with more than 30,000 people living with HIV in the state by 2007.  In Philadelphia, there are more than 19,000 people living with HIV, two-thirds of whom are African-American.

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

SOURCE Living Positive By Design
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