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

Jack Mackenroth to walk in 20th Annual AIDS Walk Houston for Living Positive By Design

HOUSTON, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack Mackenroth, from the hit reality television series "Project Runway," is visiting Houston for the 20th Annual AIDS Walk Houston, representing Living Positive By Design, his national HIV and AIDS education initiative. On Sunday, March 15th, Jack will participate in the annual event which helps to support more than 100,000 people with HIV and AIDS in the Houston area each year. The Living Positive By Design campaign seeks to help combat the stigma associated with HIV by engaging people in thoughtful conversation about the disease and is being supported by Merck & Co., Inc.

"I am excited to bring Living Positive By Design to Houston, in a city with such a high visibility of people living with 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."

In addition to Jack, local HIV specialist Shannon Schrader, M.D., Medical Director for Research Access Network in Houston, TX, will also be available the weekend of the AIDS Walk to discuss the current and future landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.

"One of the goals of Living Positive By Design is to educate people living with HIV that taking medications to help reduce the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels and helping to restore their immune system must be some of the priorities for today's disease management," said Dr. Schrader. "In addition to this, with new advancements in HIV treatment, physicians should also factor in the tolerability of treatment regimens."

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. In 2009, Jack kicked off the 2009 tour at the Academy of Friends' annual Academy Awards Night Gala in San Francisco, California. 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). The state of Texas has the fourth highest number of reported AIDS cases compared to any other state in the U.S. At the end of 2008, 23,744 Houston 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

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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