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‘Real Housewives of Miami’ co-star Alexia Echevarria and sons to lead annual AIDS Walk Miami

BY STEVE ROTHAUS
srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Taboos are not verboten on Real Housewives of Miami and co-star Alexia Echevarria is ready to bust another as grand marshal of Sunday’s 26th annual AIDS Walk Miami.

“Even with my kids — I have young men — you talk about protection, but you don’t want to talk about infectious diseases. You want to talk about getting pregnant. Birth control,” said Echevarria, who believes AIDS Walk is “a great opportunity” to discuss the perils of HIV and AIDS with her two sons.

Echevarria and sons Peter and Frankie Rosello will join more than 1,000 others on 122 teams who have registered for AIDS Walk Miami, the largest single annual fundraiser for Care Resource, which provides service to more than 15,000 people with HIV and/or AIDS in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to Jonathan Welsh, the agency’s marketing and development manager.

Last year, AIDS Walk Miami raised about $250,000 for Care Resource, which has a $15 million annual budget, Welsh said.

AIDS Walk begins 9 a.m. Sunday outside Miami Beach Convention Center. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be the event’s master of ceremonies.

Echevarria, 46, said that when Care Resource invited her to be this year’s grand marshal, she knew little about HIV/AIDS.

“This is a taboo that people don’t want to speak about,” said Echevarria, a Real Housewives co-star since the South Florida franchise debuted on Bravo TV in 2011. “I just found out Miami is No. 1 in the nation with new HIV cases.”

Echevarria is married to Herman Echevarria, chairman and CEO of BVKmeka, a Miami-based international marketing and communications company. Her sons by a previous marriage have made news of their own in recent years.

Peter Rosello in 2012 entered a pretrial diversion program after he posted a self-described video of himself on Facebook “punching a hobo in the nuts.”

Rosello, now 21, “learned the hard way, but he had to,” his mother said Thursday. “I wanted to save him from all that but some kids have to go through that themselves.”

Also walking on Sunday: Echevarria’s younger son, Francisco “Frankie” Rosello, who suffered a near-fatal brain injury in a 2011 car crash.

Frankie, now 17, goes to school full-time and still requires speech therapy as a result of the brain injury.

Still, “his progress has been incredible,” said Echevarria, adding that “not only can he walk, he can run.”

IF YOU GO

aids walkThe 26th annual AIDS Walk Miami begins 9 a.m. Sunday at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr. Registration begins at 8 a.m. www.aidswalkmiami.org

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