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'Project Runway' Designer in Chicago to Educate About Living with HIV and Combat Stigma Associated with the Disease

Jack Mackenroth to participate in AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Make a Statement: Design for the Cure event representing Living Positive By Design

CHICAGO, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack Mackenroth, from the hit reality television series "Project Runway," is participating in the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Make a Statement: Design for the Cure event representing Living Positive By Design, his national HIV and AIDS education initiative. At the event on Thursday, May 7th, Jack will address attendees about Living Positive By Design, a campaign supported by Merck & Co., Inc, which seeks to help combat the stigma associated with HIV by engaging people in thoughtful conversation about the disease. The Make a Statement event will showcase top fashions from Chicago's up and coming designers, with proceeds benefiting over 100 local AIDS service organizations.

"I am excited to bring Living Positive By Design to Chicago, a city that is working to battle its high incidence of HIV and AIDS," said Mackenroth. "Through Living Positive By Design, I have been speaking about my experiences living with HIV for more than 20 years, addressing the stigma still associated with the disease and highlighting the importance for people living with HIV to have a positive outlook on life while effectively managing their disease."

Jack will also be partnering with physician and local HIV specialist, Dr. Daniel S. Berger, Clinical Associate Professor at the College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago and Medical Director of NorthStar Medical Center, to provide updates on the current and future landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.

"Living Positive By Design is helping to educate people living with HIV about the main concerns with today's HIV disease management issues; lowering the amount of virus in the blood to an undetectable level, boosting the body's immune response, while maintaining a good quality of life," said Dr. Dan Berger. "It is an exciting time with many advancements and new classes of treatment that are available. People living with HIV should work with their doctor to find a successful regimen that is also tolerable."

In 2008, Jack held Living Positive By Design events in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the 2008 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA); in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Atlanta AIDS Walk; and in New York, New York, at the Gay Men's Health Crisis' (GMHC) annual Fashion Forward fundraiser. Jack kicked off 2009 at the Academy of Friends' annual Academy Awards Night Gala in San Francisco, California and then in Houston, Texas for the AIDS Walk. He will continue to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS through events in additional cities throughout 2009. For more information on Living Positive By Design and participating cities, please visit:

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. In 2006, 50 percent of new diagnoses were among men who have sex with men (MSM). In the state of Illinois, over 17,000 people were living with AIDS at the end of 2007. Since 2001, there have been about a 1,000 new HIV diagnoses each year in Chicago.

About AIDS Foundation of Chicago

AIDS Foundation of Chicago, founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, is a local and national leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. AIDS Foundation of Chicago collaborates with community organizations to develop and improve HIV/AIDS services; fund and coordinate prevention, care, and advocacy projects; and champion effective, compassionate HIV/AIDS policy.

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

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.

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SOURCE Living Positive By Design
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