John Merz is the Co-Executive Director of AIDS Connecticut (ACT), the statewide AIDS umbrella organization in Connecticut. He has been with the coalition since 1998. During his time at ACT, the agency changed its original mission as a coalition of AIDS housing providers to a coalition of all AIDS service providers, and modified its name from Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition, to Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition, and finally to AIDS Connecticut when it merged with AIDS Project Hartford in 2013. The coalition provides leadership to the state in the arenas of public policy, consumer empowerment, encouraging employment for persons living with HIV/AIDS and technical assistance. Additionally, it provides care and supportive services, prevention, and direct financial support to help meet the housing, medical and basic needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS.
Prior to AIDS Connecticut, John, an ordained Presbyterian minister, directed AIDS Ministries Program of Connecticut, an agency dedicated to involving the religious community in a caring and compassionate response to AIDS for 6 years. He started working in the AIDS field in 1988 as the second hired staff person at the local AIDS project in Hartford, CT.