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New Step-by-Step Guidelines Now Available for Developing an HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Program in the African Workplace

Submitted by: Merck & Co., Inc.

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1, Volunteerism

Posted: May 31, 2007 – 09:00 AM EST


Merck & Co. Inc. releases groundbreaking Blueprint for Business Action on HIV/AIDS that includes economic modeling tool

May 31 /CSRwire/ - WASHINGTON, DC- May 31, 2007 – During the 34th Annual Global Health Conference Meeting here today Merck & Co., Inc.*, announced the release of the "Blueprint for Business Action on HIV/AIDS." The Blueprint is an innovative tool developed by a predominately African advisory board specifically for African businesses to aid them in developing and implementing a comprehensive workplace program response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Merck is making the tool available for free to businesses as part of the Company's response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The Blueprint offers a step-by-step guide organized into seven modules, a specialized textbook providing additional details on how companies can implement an HIV/AIDS workplace program, and an economic impact software tool that conducts a cost/benefit analysis of an HIV/AIDS workplace program. The Blueprint is the first HIV/AIDS workplace guide to include a free economic modeling software package as part of a comprehensive approach aimed at influencing business to join the fight against HIV/AIDS.

"This blueprint provides modules for business of all sizes with clear, crisp and concise action points on HIV/AIDS programming," said Emmanuel Alhassan, Special Advisor Public-Private Partnerships, Constella Futures Nigeria (working with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS in Nigeria).

Globally, the cumulative loss of labor force participants to HIV/AIDS reached 28 million in 2005. Without increased action across all segments of society, this figure could reach 48 million by 2010 and 74 million by 2015, 50 million of whom would be in Africa (ILO, 2004); yet, according to a 2003 UNAIDS study on the economic impact of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, a survey of companies with fewer than 100 workers showed that only 13 percent of the companies had a company policy in place to deal with HIV and AIDS.

"The future of African business, in the age of HIV/AIDS, will be bleak if employers do not immediately engage in treatment and prevention efforts," said Dr. Neeraj Mistry, technical director at the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. "African companies must establish and expand HIV/AIDS workplace programs for all of their employees and their families."

The Blueprint was developed with the support of Merck for use by African companies of all sizes – small, medium and large. Available in French and English, the tool shows how prevention and treatment programs in the workplace make an important contribution to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic, while also being a sound business decision.

"Merck has been engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS for two decades," said Donald de Korte, director of HIV Access Programs for Merck in Africa. "During that time, we have learned that HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs in the workplace for employees and their families can make a difference in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have supported the development of the Blueprint to help provide an easy-to-use roadmap for bringing prevention, care and treatment options to employees and their families."

In developing the Blueprint for Business Action, Merck drew on its experiences in combating HIV/AIDS and its work with more than a dozen companies in Africa to develop sustainable and effective workplace programs. To ensure the tool reflected the true needs of African businesses, Merck assembled a predominantly African editorial team of HIV/AIDS experts to help develop and test the Blueprint. Merck also drew on the experience and best practices of various stakeholders such as UNAIDS, the International Labor Organization, the World Bank, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies that have successfully initiated HIV/AIDS workplace programs.

Included in the Blueprint are:

  • Seven modules that together comprise a step-by-step comprehensive workplace program to assist businesses in their response against HIV/AIDS.

  • A textbook that provides background on HIV/AIDS and details about why a company should, and how it can, implement an HIV/AIDS workplace program.

  • An economic modeling tool that will enable companies to analyze and illustrate the economic impact an HIV/AIDS workplace program would have on the bottom line.

    The Blueprint is available free of charge on the Merck website ( Businesses can choose to use these modules in full sequence or as needed. The website also includes a feedback mechanism allowing Blueprint users to share their experiences and recommend changes and suggestions. The editorial board will review feedback and make regular updates, creating a living and constantly evolving tool.

    Merck & Co., Inc. (Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA), operates as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in many countries outside the United States.

    About Merck & Co., Inc.

    Merck & Co., Inc., which operates as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in many countries outside the United States, is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck 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 also help deliver them to the people who need them. For 20 years, Merck has been at the forefront of the global response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. From the discovery and development of antiretroviral drugs to our continuing efforts to develop a HIV vaccine, Merck’s commitment to this disease area has never been stronger. Since our first HIV products reached the market a decade ago, the company has worked to expand access to these medicines - particularly in the world’s poorest countries and those hit hardest by the pandemic. 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 & Co., Inc. 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 cautionary statements in Item 1 of Merck's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2004, and in its periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, which the Company incorporates by reference.


    For more information on the UNAIDS Economic Impact of HIV/AIDS Report 2003, please visit:

  • For more information, please contact:

    Maggie Kohn Merck & Co. Inc.
    Phone: 908-423-5655


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