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'Project Runway' Designer in New Orleans to Educate About Living with HIV and Combat Stigma Associated with the Disease through Living Positive By Design

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Jack Mackenroth, from the hit reality television series "Project Runway," is visiting New Orleans for the 20th annual NO/AIDS Walk and is bringing Living Positive By Design, his national HIV and AIDS education initiative, to the city. On Sunday, September 20th, Jack will participate in the Walk which helps to support the NO/AIDS Task Force as well as several other AIDS Service Organizations in Louisiana 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 supported by Merck & Co., Inc.

"I am proud to bring Living Positive By Design to New Orleans, a city whose positive outlook is an inspiration to people all over the United States," said Mackenroth, who has been living with HIV for more than 20 years. "Living Positive By Design highlights the importance for people living with HIV to have a positive outlook on life while effectively managing their disease and works to combat the stigma still associated with HIV."

In addition to Jack, local HIV specialist Pedro L. Gonzalez, M.D., will also be available the weekend of the AIDS Walk to discuss the current landscape of HIV and AIDS treatment and research.

"Living Positive By Design educates people living with HIV about the importance of disease management to help maintain a good quality of life. People with HIV should work with their doctor to find a treatment regimen that can reduce the amount of virus in the blood to an undetectable level and help restore their immune system," said Dr. Gonzalez. "Given all the treatment options that are available today, it is important that both the efficacy and tolerability of treatments be considered when choosing a regimen."

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 brought Living Positive By Design to the Academy of Friends' annual Academy Awards Night Gala in San Francisco, California; the AIDS Walk Houston in Houston, Texas as well as the AIDS Foundation of Chicago's Make a Statement: Design for the Cure event in Chicago, Illinois. 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, 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 2008, 72% of newly diagnosed HIV cases and 70% of newly diagnosed AIDS cases in the state of Louisiana were among African-Americans. Louisiana had the ninth highest number of new HIV cases reported compared to any other state in the country in 2007, and New Orleans ranked second for AIDS case rates among the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.( )

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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