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FOR RELEASE: November 21, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

World AIDS Day Focuses on Male Awareness of Risk of HIV/AIDS

This year's theme for the 13th annual World AIDS Day is AIDS: All Men – Make a Difference! World AIDS Day will be observed on Dec. 1 around the world and in Oklahoma. Since 1982, every region of Oklahoma, urban and rural, has reported cases of HIV/AIDS. As of Sept. 30, Oklahoma had reported a total of 5, 919 cases of HIV/AIDS.

Worldwide, more than 34 million people are estimated to be living with HIV or AIDS. Nine out of 10 of them do not know they are infected, because they have not been tested. In the United States, an estimated 850,000 people are currently infected with HIV.

The focus of World AIDS Day is to encourage a greater awareness of the risk of HIV/AIDS among all men, whatever their age, race or sexual orientation. Men are encouraged to increase their awareness of the risk of HIV/AIDS for themselves, their partners and their children and to use their influence with their families, friends, and in their communities to help prevent HIV/AIDS.

This year, Oklahoma men are encouraged to educate themselves on how to prevent HIV infection and to help others learn how to prevent its spread. “You don't need to be an expert, but you do need to know the facts,” said William R. Pierson, HIV/STD service chief.

To learn more about HIV/AIDS, and the connection between HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, or to locate a free HIV antibody test site close to you, call the Oklahoma HIV/AIDS Hotline, 1-800-55-AIDS. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is TDD/TTY accessible.

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