Digital News Report- This years’ Academy of Friends’ Academy Award Night Gala will feature Jack Mackenroth from the hit reality TV series “Project Runway.” He will be presenting his national HIV and AIDS education initiative, “Living Positive By Design.” The campaign seeks to help combat the stigma associated with HIV by engaging people in thoughtful conversation about the disease. The gala will benefit 12 local Bay Area HIV and AIDS service organizations. It will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at Fort Mason.
“I am excited to bring Living Positive By Design to San Francisco in partnership with the Academy of Friends, an organization committed to improving the lives of people living with HIV,” said Mackenroth. “Through Living Positive By Design, I have been speaking about my experiences living with HIV for more than 20 years, addressing the stigma still associated with the disease and highlighting the importance for people living with HIV to have a positive outlook on life while effectively managing their disease.”
At the event, Jack will unveil a new series of Living Positive By Design video vignettes that he has created to garner support for the goals of the program as well as provide on-site commentary on the celebrity fashions from the awards show. Local HIV specialist Lisa Capaldini, M.D. of Castro Medical will also be available the weekend of the Gala to discuss the current and future landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.
“One of the goals of Living Positive By Design is to educate people living with HIV that taking medications to help reduce the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels and helping to restore their immune system must be some of the priorities for today’s disease management,” said Dr. Capaldini. “In addition to this, with new advancements in HIV treatment, physicians should also factor in the tolerability of treatment regimens.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million Americans are living with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and approximately 55,000 new people become infected every year. In 2006, 50 percent of new diagnoses were among men who have sex with men (MSM). The state of California has the second highest number of reported AIDS cases compared to any other state in the U.S. At the end of 2007, 15,470 San Francisco residents were living with HIV or AIDS.