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FOR RELEASE: November 27, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

World AIDS Day 2001 Focuses on Youth and HIV/AIDS

Worldwide, half of all new HIV infection cases occur among people under the age of 25. To emphasize the need for greater education and involvement of young people in diagnosing, treating, and preventing HIV/AIDS, this year's World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 will focus on the theme I Care…Do You? Youth and AIDS in the 21st Century.

Throughout the world, every minute, five young people are infected with HIV. Ten million people ages 15 to 24 are living with HIV/AIDS. In Oklahoma, young people under age 25 represent 20 percent of the cases of HIV infection. As of October 2001, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reported a total of 6,367 cases of HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma.

World AIDS Day 2001 will emphasize the need for every individual to be responsible and make a constructive contribution to prevent HIV/AIDS. In particular, prevention and protection programs geared toward youth are needed now more than ever, as evidenced by the growing number of cases worldwide.

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, 1-800-535-AIDS. All calls are confidential, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are TDD/TTY accessible.

For information about World AIDS Day 2001 programs in Eastern Oklahoma, contact Amy Graham at the American Red Cross, 918/831-1100. For information about programs in Western Oklahoma, contact William Pierson, OSDH, HIV/STD Service, 405/271-4636.

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