Merck's HIV Campaign, I Design, Partners with Music Industry Promoter and HIV Advocate Maria Davis and Positive Women's Network

Merck's HIV Campaign, I Design, Partners with Music Industry Promoter and HIV
  Advocate Maria Davis and Positive Women's Network - USA to Encourage Women
             Living with HIV to be "Vocal" about their Treatment

"Speaking Up" is Vital, Given the Significant Impact of the Disease on Women

PR Newswire


WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Merck (NYSE: MRK),
known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that Maria
Davis – a music industry promoter and HIV advocate – and Positive Women's
Network – USA (PWN-USA) – are joining its national HIV education campaign, I
Design. The awareness campaign will help inspire and motivate women living
with HIV to "vocalize" how they are feeling on their treatment plans, and to
work with their healthcare teams to design treatment plans specific to their
individual health needs.

Maria Davis, HIV Advocate with the I Design campaign

"As an organization founded to build collective power among women living with
HIV, we are glad to partner with Merck and the I Design campaign in our shared
mission to support women living with HIV in advocating for our health and
rights," said Naina Khanna, Executive Director of PWN-USA. "Women living with
HIV have unique needs and face specific challenges that healthcare providers
should take into account when considering treatment and care plans. Community
leaders like Maria Davis can help underscore the importance for women to
amplify their voices in open, meaningful conversations between them and their
care providers."

Only four in ten women diagnosed with HIV have the virus under control;
therefore, it's important to support women in having an open dialogue with
their healthcare team regarding their treatment.

It is estimated that there are more than 275,000 women living with HIV in the
U.S., of which a disproportionate number are African-American. "As an
African-American woman living with HIV, it is critical for me to make sure my
voice is heard in discussions with my healthcare team and I want to encourage
other women living with HIV to do the same," said Davis. "That is why I am
proud to be part of the I Design campaign and lend my voice to help mobilize

Maria Davis, a music industry insider who currently produces and directs music
showcases for signed and unsigned artists, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995
after unknowingly contracting the virus from the man whom she was planning to
marry. She always thought "it could never happen to me" and has since become a
devoted advocate for HIV awareness and education. Over the years, Maria has
leveraged her position in the entertainment industry to educate the community
about HIV by partnering with organizations such as Lifebeat, Music Fights
HIV/AIDS and BET Rap it Up Community Service, as well as serving as a keynote
speaker for the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc.

Maria joins existing I Design team members Project Runway All Stars Season One
winner and Under the Gunn star Mondo Guerra, and renowned HIV activist and
acclaimed photographer Duane Cramer, on the campaign's two-year anniversary.

Getting Involved with I Design
I Design is a national HIV education campaign led by Merck, that aims to help
empower people living with HIV to work with their healthcare team to take an
active role in designing their treatment plan, "vocalize" how their treatment
is working in discussions with their healthcare team and "tailor" their HIV
treatment plan by approaching treatment "through their own lens."

To learn more about the campaign, visit 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; take a quiz about women and 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.

About Positive Women's Network – United States of America
Positive Women's Network – USA (PWN-USA) is a national membership body of
women living with HIV and their allies that exists to strengthen the strategic
power of all women living with HIV in the United States. PWN-USA envisions a
world where women living with HIV can live long, healthy, dignified and
productive lives, free from stigma and discrimination. PWN-USA's mission is to
prepare and involve all women living with HIV, in all their diversity,
including gender identity and sexual expression, in all levels of policy and
decision-making. Founded in 2008 by 28 diverse HIV-positive women leaders,
PWN-USA develops a leadership pipeline and policy agenda that applies a gender
lens to the domestic HIV epidemic grounded in social justice and human rights.
Every day they seek to inspire, inform, and mobilize women living with HIV to
advocate for changes that improve their lives and uphold their rights. In
addition to federal advocacy, PWN-USA supports regional chapters to build
leadership at a local and state level. For more information, visit
or contact

Merck's Commitment to HIV
For close to 30 years, Merck has been at the forefront of the response to the
HIV epidemic, and has helped to make a difference through our proud legacy of
commitment to innovation, collaborating with the community and expanding
global access to medicines. In the United States, we are helping to address
healthcare disparities through educational programs and resources that align
with the National HIV Strategy. 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 and
connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

For use within the United States of America

                Merck:     Cohn & Wolfe:
Media Contacts: Carmen de Gourville Kim Angelastro
                (267) 305-4195      (212) 798-9740

I Design, a national HIV education campaign

Positive Women's Network - USA

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