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FOR RELEASE: February 21, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Black Church Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS: March 3-9

The largest national HIV/AIDS awareness campaign targeting African Americans will occur during the annual Black Church Week of Prayer, March 3-9. This campaign will focus attention on the need for prevention and treatment awareness of HIV/AIDS in the African-American population and the role of the church in addressing the AIDS crisis. More than one in five cases of HIV infections are among African Americans in Oklahoma.

At least 10,000 churches across the United States and overseas will participate. Locally, the annual program will be held Sat., March 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Holy Temple Baptist Church, 1540 N.E. 50th in Oklahoma City, featuring Dr. Eric Goosby as the plenary speaker. The topic for the event is "Pray for our children, pray for our family, and pray for our future."

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and seven local churches will participate as partners in the Balm in Gilead program. Dr. Bobby Jones, host of The Bobby Jones Gospel Hour nationally syndicated television program, will serve as this year's national spokesman.

For a list of activities for the week or more information about the Balm in Gilead program, please contact Michelle Green-Gilbert, OSDH HIV/STD Service Director, Information & Training, at 271-4636.

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