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Blumenthal, Himes Pose for HIV Anti-Stigma Photo Campaign

A recent event offered free HIV and STI testing and unveiled the gallery of celebrity photos for the "HIV Equal" campaign. Over 90% of new HIV infections are found in young men ages 13-34.

(L to R) Jack Mackenroth, Congressman Himes, Photographer Thomas Evans, Senator Blumenthal and Dr. Gary Blick. Photo courtesy Andrew Werner
(L to R) Jack Mackenroth, Congressman Himes, Photographer Thomas Evans, Senator Blumenthal and Dr. Gary Blick. Photo courtesy Andrew Werner
Written by Leslie Yager
A new national photo campaign entitled “HIV Equal”  – as in, 'Everybody has an HIV status. We are all equal' – recently kicked off by World Health Clinicians (WHC), with both Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Richard Blumenthal participating in photo shoots.  

The campaign, which aims to increase awareness of HIV and HIV testing and end the stigma of HIV, targeted younger generations at a LGBT Health and Wellness event on Oct. 26. 

Free and confidential HIV and STI testing were available to all attendees as they browsed the gallery of photographs of all celebrities in the photo campaign. 

The exhibit included the first set of photographs featuring Broadway star Nick Adams (“La Cage Aux Folles,” “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”), AIDS and gay rights activist Peter Staley, Tony Award winning actor/singer Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”), and drag superstar Bianca Del Rio, among many others.

The LGBT Health and Wellness event featured drag superstar Titania Steele, DJ T-BOY and designer/Reality TV star Jack Mackenroth (Project RunwaySeason 4), who is also co-founder of the “HIV Equal” photo campaign. 

“Our goal is to photograph people from all walks of life who support ending HIV stigma, regardless of their personal HIV status. We launched the campaign with celebrities, politicians, artists and many recognizable faces in order to draw attention to our mission, but we plan to include everyone since HIV affects us all,” Mackenroth explained in a release.

“HIV Equal goes a step further to include testing so that everyone photographed knows their status. We need to take care of ourselves and each other, as well as to reignite the global conversation about HIV to stop the spread of misinformation, fear and judgment," Mackenroth said.

Heading up the testing portion of the campaign is WHC Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Gary Blick, who understands the urgency of youth outreach.

“It’s crucial to restart the national dialogue about HIV and HIV testing since the recent CDC statistics suggest that the younger generations are the most vulnerable when it comes to new HIV infections, as data from 2010 cites that over 90% of new HIV infections are found in young men ages 13-34," Blick said in the release.

"HIV Equal appeals directly to that demographic. We’re bringing awareness of HIV and HIV testing to the forefront, and smashing the stigma associated with HIV. The message of HIV Equal is that it is vital that we all know our HIV status but that we should not be judged because of it," Blick said.

HIV Equal will soon take the photo shoot and HIV testing campaign to cities across the country.  

World Health Clinicians, Inc. (WHC) is a U.S.-based non-profit 501(c)(3) humanitarian organization founded in September 2010 by U.S. HIV/AIDS specialists Dr. Gary Blick and Executive Director Scott Gretz, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in the developed and developing world. www.worldhealthclinicians.org 
MAC October 31, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Jimes and Blumie never waste an opportunity to get their mugs in front of the public. Shameless!................................................ They need to be ashamed of themselves for supporting the government TAKEOVER of a healthcare system which 85 % of Americans were happy with! Now it is becoming obvious that MILLIONS MORE Americans are LOSING the Insurance they could afford, as compared to the few who are now getting it from "the exchanges"!.......................................................................... The other dirty little secret now being exposed is that HALF or so of those enrolling in the states' plans are going on MEDICAID, and will be paying NOTHING, while those taxpayers losing their plans and unable to afford the gov't. mandated plans SUBSIDIZE the others who will get free or low-cost coverage!!!

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