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Matthias Gerschwitz, born 1959, the youngest of six children, was raised in Solingen, a German town between Cologne and Düsseldorf. After his university graduation, he moved to Frankfurt and for seven years worked as product and promotion manager for a mid-sized manufacturer of household products. Subsequently, he went to work for an international fragrance and flavor company near Cologne. He has lived in Berlin since 1992 where he has been working as a marketing consultant. He started publishing books in 2007, initially focusing on his fondness for history. His books explore the history of old brands, renowned landmarks or long-established companies.

In 2009 he wrote a book about his life with HIV – »Endlich mal was Positives«, [Finally, Something Positive (to report)]. In the same year, Gerschwitz was named »Ambassador of World AIDS Day« for Germany. In 2010, his book was honored with the »Annemarie Madison Award«, a German award named after an early Californian AIDS activist. Also in 2010, he starred in a video »Living together positively – and safe« for the German government’s official AIDS education campaign. In 2013 he participated in a report about HIV for the German-French TV station Arte, »Vivre en positif«. In November 2014, The Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international TV broadcaster, produced a video for German, English, Spanish and Arab speaking countries about the author, his book and his infection. In February 2015, Gerschwitz published a sequel to »Endlich mal was Positives« dealing with the current social and health care situation of people infected with HIV in Germany. The book documents that HIV positive people are still subject to discrimination and criminalization. On November 1, 2015 he launched an English version of his personal story under the titel »Beyond the Virus – HIV infected my blood but not my life«.

Matthias Gerschwitz has held to date more than 500 lectures in Germany and Austria, especially in high school classes.

MATTHIAS GERSCHWITZ

Beyond the Virus - cover