Oct 25, 2013
10:28 AMHealth & Science
'Project Runway' Alum Helps Launch National HIV Testing Effort Via Connecticut
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“Our goal is to photograph people from all walks of life who support ending HIV stigma, regardless of their personal HIV status,” Mackenroth said in announcing the event, adding Thursday that he expects a couple of hundred people to attend Saturday, and as many as 100 to be photographed and tested.
In line with the anti-stigma message and in the spirit of appealing to a younger demographic, the postcard invitation for the event says “Let’s play doctor!” and features a photo of Titania Steele, the event’s host, sporting a naughty nurse look. In addition to free and confidential testing for HIV, and a free STI panel (sexually transmitted infections), the event offers “fabulous” door prizes, including Botox treatments, the opportunity to meet Mackenroth, food and drinks and entertainment by DJ T-BOY.
As the Facebook invitation shows, WHC wants anyone to attend the launch.
“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.
After the launch Saturday, HIV Equal will take its photo shoots and testing initiative to cities across the country, where, Blick said, WHC will partner with health-testing or public-health entities in each location.
“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 said, adding “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.”
Toward that end, even Dr. Blick's mother, Gloria Blick, was photographed to represent all the great-grandmothers in the world and make a statement that HIV affects everyone.
In explaining HIV Equal, Mackenroth emphasized that Congressman Himes’ participation was meant, in part, to show how easy it us to get tested with a mouth swab. The test takes less than 20 minutes, he said.
To connect or learn more see the HIV Equal website.