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'Project Runway' Designer Comes Full Circle to Educate About Living with HIV and Combat Stigma Associated with the Disease at United States Conference on AIDS

Saturday, October 31, 2009 General News J E 4
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Jack Mackenroth to bring Living Positive By Design campaign to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30 -- Jack Mackenroth, from the hit reality television series "Project Runway," is visiting San Francisco for the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) and is bringing Living Positive By Design, his national HIV and AIDS education initiative, to the city.  On Saturday, October 31st, Jack will host a talk show session at the conference where he will engage special guests in lively discussions on important HIV topics including the stigma that still exists around the disease, goals of treatment and disease awareness in the fashion industry. The Living Positive By Design campaign seeks to combat the stigma associated with HIV by engaging people in thoughtful conversation about the disease and is supported by Merck & Co., Inc.

"I launched Living Positive By Design in partnership with Merck at USCA last year, and I am proud to be in San Francisco to come full circle with this impactful campaign," said Mackenroth, who has been living with HIV for more than 20 years.  "Through Living Positive By Design, I hope to highlight the importance for people living with HIV to have a positive outlook on life while effectively managing their disease and to combat the stigma still associated with HIV."

In addition to Jack, local HIV specialist Lisa Capaldini, M.D., will also be on-site at the conference to discuss the current landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.

"Through Living Positive By Design, we hope to reinforce the importance of disease management for people living with HIV in San Francisco and around the country," said Dr. Capaldini.  "There are many different options available today for the treatment of HIV.  We want to encourage people living with the disease to work with their doctor to find a treatment regimen that is right for them."

Jack has brought Living Positive By Design to Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the 2008 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA); Atlanta, GA, at the Atlanta AIDS Walk; New York, NY, at GMHC's  annual Fashion Forward fundraiser; the Academy of Friends' annual Academy Awards Night Gala in San Francisco, CA; the AIDS Walk Houston in Houston, TX ; the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Make a Statement: Design for the Cure event in Chicago, IL; the N/O AIDS Task Force Walk in New Orleans, LA; and Philadelphia, PA for AIDS Walk Philly.  For more information on Living Positive By Design, please visit: www.LivingPositiveByDesign.com.

Prevalence of HIV and AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million Americans are living with HIV and AIDS in the U.S. and approximately 55,000 new people become infected every year.  California has the second highest number of reported AIDS cases compared to any other state in the U.S., with 142,918 cumulative cases.  At the end of 2008, 15,757 San Francisco residents were living with HIV or AIDS.

About Merck

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first.  Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs.  The Company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them.  Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service.  For more information, visit www.merck.com.

Forward-looking statement

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements are based on management's current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties, which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements.  The forward-looking statements may include statements regarding product development, product potential or financial performance.  No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from those projected.  Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.  Forward-looking statements in this press release should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect Merck's business, particularly those mentioned in the risk factors and cautionary statements in Item 1A of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2008, and in any risk factors or cautionary statements contained in the Company's periodic reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.

SOURCE Living Positive By Design

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