WALTHAM, Mass., July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Alere Inc. (NYSE: ALR) is pleased to announce that the company's senior vice president, Paul Hempel, will participate in a press conference at this year's International AIDS Conference to discuss the importance of private sector involvement in the development and implementation of global HIV/AIDS prevention strategies. Hempel will be joined by actress Debra Messing, renowned for her work on "Will & Grace" and, more recently, "SMASH," as well as executives from Population Services International (PSI), UNAIDS, and USAID.
Hempel is a spokesperson for Alere's Make (+) More Positive ™ campaign, which has been designed to connect people around the world who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Thirty million people have died from the virus, and it continues to spread globally at a rate of 7,000 people per day. What most people do not know, however, is that healthcare innovations over the past several years have made it possible to manage HIV. With the right tools, care and education, those diagnosed are able to live full, healthy and active lives.
"I no longer see HIV as a lethal virus," said Hempel, who has been living with HIV since 2010. "Advances in prevention, monitoring and treatment have turned it into a chronic condition, so that I, and others with the virus, can live full, happy lives. I can plan for my future over the long-term and go about fulfilling my dreams, which is something I couldn't imagine doing a few years ago."
The Make (+) More Positive ™ campaign is built around the concept of the plus (+) symbol that, for so many, represents shame, fear, and despair when attached to HIV. Alere is urging all individuals to transform this symbol into a work of art that shows the world that living positively is very much a reality and that helps to de-stigmatize both the virus and those diagnosed with it. For every plus symbol uploaded to the campaign's website ( www.morepositive.com), "like" on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/morepositive), or follower on Twitter (@more_positive), the company will donate one rapid HIV test, up to one million, to be used in those countries with the highest viral burden. Alere has established a partnership with PSI to distribute these donated tests and raise awareness at a global level about the extent to which efforts to reduce stigma can benefit the fight against HIV/AIDS."We've launched the Make (+) More Positive campaign because we feel we can help in some way," said Hempel. "We believe that every contribution, no matter how big or small, and partnerships like the one we have with PSI, which is designed to promote awareness, de-stigmatize diagnosis, and improve access to testing and therapy, will ultimately serve to prevent the spread of HIV."