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FOR RELEASE: August 9, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Pre-Registration Begins for HIV/AIDS Conference

The Twelfth Annual Oklahoma HIV Conference will focus on topics that help people deal with the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS and provide updates on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of HIV. Keynote speakers include Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, Rafael M. Diaz, Ph.D., and Sandra S. McDonald. The conference is scheduled for Oct. 11-12 at the Hilton Northwest, 2945 N.W. Expressway, in Oklahoma City and is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The two-day conference will provide educational information on a wide range of HIV/AIDS topics, including Faith-based programs and HIV, Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction, Triple Diagnosis, Medical Updates, Youth, Surviving Grief, Project Wishbone, and many other topics.

Dr. Elders served as Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service under the administration of President Bill Clinton from July 1993 until December 1994 when she resigned to continue her professional career at the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. Elders was the first African American woman to hold the post of U.S. Surgeon General and is a pediatric endocrinologist. She will speak on “Education and Personal Responsibility”. Elders has won numerous awards such as the National Governor's Association Distinguished Services Award, American Medical Association's Dr. Nathan Davis Award, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women's Candace Award for Health Science, and the Distinguished Women in America award.

Dr. Diaz is the Director of the Center for Community Research (CCR) at San Francisco State University. CCR conducts research programs with ethnic minority populations on issues related to sexuality, social inequality and health, guided by principles of community participatory research. Diaz will speak on “Social Discrimination and HIV Risk”.

Sandra McDonald is the President and Founder of OUTREACH, Inc., the first minority non-profit community based organization in Georgia to provide AIDS awareness and prevention programs in metro Atlanta's African American communities. McDonald is one of the country's leading AIDS experts and will discuss issues relating to substance abuse and HIV.

Oklahoma State Department of Health HIV/STD Service Chief William R. Pierson reports that approximately 4,200 individuals in Oklahoma are living with HIV and AIDS as of June 30, 2001. “The conference offers an educational forum for service providers, educators, and people living with HIV disease to address critical issues related to HIV prevention, treatment and care,” Pierson said.

Conference registration is $50 before Oct. 1 and increases to $75 after that date. For conference information or to register, call CarePoint, Inc. at 405/232-2437 or visit the conference website at www.oklahomahivconference.org.

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