The NAMES Project Foundation and Merck Launch “Call My Name” National Tour AIDS Panel Making Workshop to Focus Attention on HIV/AIDS Crisis in African American Communities


February 7, 2012 8:08 am ET

In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, The NAMES
Foundation, with support from Merck, (known as MSD outside the United
States and Canada), today announced the launch of the “Call My Name”
national tour. The tour will help bring attention to the distressing
trajectory of the AIDS epidemic in African American communities in the
U.S. through quilt-making and educational workshops.

The tour revives the legacy of quilting-as-activism to commemorate
African American lives lost to the epidemic and to strengthen access to
treatment and care for these communities. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, African Americans
represent the largest group impacted by HIV. African Americans accounted
for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009, despite representing
only 14 percent of the U.S. population in that year. “Over 30 years into
the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is more important than ever to remember those
we’ve lost and protect those we love,” says Julie Rhoad, president and
CEO of The NAMES Project Foundation. “As the custodian of the AIDS
Memorial Quilt, we are excited to partner with Merck to bring this
effort to a new generation and to continue to inspire action to protect
our communities.”

“Merck has a longstanding history of partnering with the HIV community
to reduce healthcare disparities in HIV treatment and care,” said Chirfi
Guindo, general manager & global commercial leader, HIV. “Our
collaboration with The NAMES Project Foundation is a critical part of
this ongoing commitment. We are proud to support the ‘Call My Name’
national workshop tour, which will go a long way to raise awareness and
help improve the lives of people living with HIV across the U.S.”

Through collaboration with historically black colleges and universities
(HBCUs), the Black AIDS Institute, policy makers, faith leaders, and
pioneering AIDS activists and organizations, “Call My Name” brings
African American communities together for the common purpose of fighting
HIV. Call My Name workshops provide an opportunity to create quilt
panels in recognition of African Americans affected by HIV/AIDS.
Workshops also include presentations by leading advocates, messages on
HIV prevention and critical information to address HIV/AIDS at the local

The 2012 national tour will visit 10 high-prevalence cities this year
including Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Jackson, MS; Washington, DC;
Tallahassee, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco.

The tour kicks off February 11, 2012 in Atlanta, where The NAMES Project
Foundation will partner with Spelman College, the Atlanta University
Center, SisterLove, BTAN Atlanta, and The SCLC Women to host hundreds of
participants. The national tour will culminate in a panel dedication
ceremony at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington,
DC this July.

To Request A “Call My Name” Workshop

To request or learn more about “Call My Name” workshops in your area,
please contact: Jada Harris at 404.688.5500 ext. 228 or

About The NAMES Project Foundation

Established in 1987, The NAMES Project Foundation, Inc. is the
international, non-governmental organization that is the custodian of
the AIDS Memorial Quilt and its associated document and media archive.
The NAMES Project Foundation’s mission is to preserve, care for, and use
the AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, advance social justice, and
inspire action in the age of AIDS and beyond.

Merck’s Commitment to Communities Impacted by HIV

For more than 25 years, Merck has been committed to reducing healthcare
disparities and improving access to HIV treatment and care in the United
States. As part of this commitment, Merck engages in public-private
partnerships to reduce the impact of HIV on those most in need and most
at risk. Merck collaborates with leading AIDS service organizations to
develop solutions that strengthen access to treatment, care and support
for disproportionately impacted communities.

To learn more about Merck’s commitment to reducing healthcare
disparities, click here.

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
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