Renowned Photographer and HIV Activist Duane Cramer Partners with Project Runway Star Mondo Guerra and Merck on I Design Campaign

Thu Feb 7, 2013 8:45am EST

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National HIV Education Initiative Kicks Off Second Year of Education on
Self-expression in HIV Treatment with New Interactive Tools
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.,  Feb. 7, 2013  /PRNewswire/ --  Merck (NYSE: MRK),
known as MSD outside  the United States  and  Canada, today announced that 
Duane Cramer, an acclaimed photographer and HIV advocate, is joining the
national HIV education campaign  I Design.  Duane has partnered with  Project
Runway  star  Mondo Guerra, who served as the voice of the campaign in 2012, to
help empower people living with HIV to work with their doctors and approach HIV
treatment "through their own lens." The  I Design  campaign traveled  the United
States  in 2012, and is embarking on its second year on the road this National
Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, including the launch of interactive digital tools
to help with HIV management on  www.ProjectIDesign.com.  

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130207/NY55907)  

"As a person who has lived with HIV for a long time, I've learned that
self-expression is incredibly important, especially when it comes to working
with my doctor on a treatment plan," said Cramer. "I am thrilled to join Merck
and Mondo on the  I Design  campaign and to be kicking off the second year of
this successful initiative on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. I look
forward to helping people living with HIV understand the importance of an open
and ongoing dialogue with their healthcare provider to manage this chronic
disease."

An internationally known photographer, Duane has lived with HIV for nearly two
decades. He is also a passionate activist for HIV awareness and education,
particularly for the African-American community, who are disproportionately
affected by the disease. Since being diagnosed as HIV-positive, HIV has become
his artistic lens, no matter the subject. Some of his most rewarding work,
through his photography and his personal life, comes from bringing attention to
African-Americans living with HIV. Duane lost his father  Joe J. Cramer, Jr.,
PhD, an accomplished academician, to the disease in 1986, and later created a
panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in his honor with his mothers and sisters. He
served as board member emeritus for the NAMES Project Foundation - AIDS Memorial
Quilt.

"Over the last year, I've been inspired by the many voices within the HIV
community and want to continue reaching more people with the  I Design  message
of working with your doctor in taking a tailored approach to your HIV
treatment," said Guerra. "The experience has been truly rewarding and I'm
looking forward to working with Duane to continue sharing our messages about
managing your HIV and the importance of patient-physician collaboration."

Mondo and the  I Design  campaign traveled across  the United States  in 2012
with multiple stops, including the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012)
and the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA 2012). With Duane on board, the
campaign will continue to raise awareness about the importance of active
communication with your doctor about goals of treatment now and in the future,
including introducing interactive digital tools that can help facilitate these
conversations. The "My Health Matters" and "My Positive Agenda" mobile and
desktop apps - now available on  www.ProjectIDesign.com  - include a symptom and
medication tracker, which can create reports to make it easy to share
information with your healthcare team.   

Getting Involved with  I Design  
I Design  is a national HIV education campaign led by Merck, notable fashion
designer  Mondo Guerra  and award-winning photographer  Duane Cramer  aimed at
helping to empower people living with HIV to have open and meaningful
discussions with their doctors about their treatment plan based on their medical
and lifestyle needs.

To learn more about the campaign, visit  www.ProjectIDesign.com  where you can
download a  conversation checklist, which offers tips on how to engage in an
open and honest dialogue with your doctor; design a digital textile illustrating
your approach to managing HIV; and view videos and photos. To help you track and
manage your health, there are the "My Health Matters" and "My Positive Agenda"
mobile and desktop apps. These easy-to-use tools help you track the symptoms of
your HIV, set up reminders to take your medications on time, and keep a record
of when you have taken them, which can serve to prompt you on important
discussion points when you are with your doctor. For additional tips and to
follow Merck, Mondo, and Duane's collaboration on  I Design, join them on
Twitter @Merck, @LoveMondoTrasho and @DuaneCramer.

About National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day    
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day  was commemorated to increase HIV
awareness and advance HIV prevention, testing, and treatment among Blacks in 
the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, African-Americans face the most severe burden of HIV compared to all
racial/ethnic groups in the United States.  Despite representing approximately
14 percent of the U.S. population in 2009, African-Americans accounted for
nearly 45 percent of all new HIV infections in that year and account for a
higher proportion of HIV infections at all stages of disease - from new
infections to deaths.

About  Mondo Guerra
After an emotional disclosure of his HIV-positive status during Season 8,
fashion designer  Mondo Guerra  won the hearts of the judges, fellow contestants
and viewers on the hit reality TV show  Project Runway. Last Spring marked his
triumphant return to  Project Runway All Stars  Season 1 as the winner of the
show.

Mondo has been HIV-positive for more than 10 years, and since his courageous
disclosure, has become an advocate for HIV awareness. He is currently
collaborating with Merck on  I Design, a national HIV education campaign to help
empower people living with HIV to play an active role in working with their
doctors to design an HIV treatment plan. Mondo continues to serve as a role
model in the HIV community by speaking openly about his status and encouraging
others to do the same.

About  Duane Cramer
Duane Cramer  is a freelance, award-winning photographer whose poignant photos
of dignitaries, celebrities and everyday individuals gracefully capture the
humanity of his subjects.  Since being diagnosed with HIV 17 years ago,  Duane
Cramer  has become a tireless advocate for HIV awareness and education, using
his photography and creative skills to bring attention to the disease,
particularly in the African-American community.

Duane has previously served as a board member emeritus for the NAMES Project
Foundation - AIDS Memorial Quilt and was a founding member on the Board of
Directors of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. In addition to  I Design,
Duane continues to devote his time, energy and artistic expression to numerous
HIV events and organizations across  the United States.

Merck's Commitment to HIV
For more than 25 years, Merck has been at the forefront of the response to the
HIV epidemic and we have made a difference through our proud legacy of
commitment to innovation, collaborating with community, and expanding global
access to medicines. Merck is dedicated to applying our scientific expertise,
resources and global reach to deliver healthcare solutions that support people
living with HIV worldwide.  

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. 
Merck is known as MSD outside  the United States  and  Canada. Through our
prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and
animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140
countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our
commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies,
programs and partnerships. For more information, visit  www.merck.com  and
connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

SOURCE  Merck


Merck, Claire Campbell Mulhearn, +1-908-423-7425; or Cohn & Wolfe, Kim
Angelastro, +1-212-798-9740

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