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FOR RELEASE: February 1, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Feb. 7 --
Free Local Testing Available

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Thursday, Feb. 7, and will be recognized locally through the offering of free testing at the Holy Temple Baptist Church, 1540 N.E. 50th in Oklahoma City from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsors for the Oklahoma City event include the African American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention --P.R.A.Y.E.R. Group and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Tom Joyner, a nationally syndicated radio celebrity, will serve as the spokesman for a nationwide community mobilization effort to emphasize the HIV/AIDS "State of Emergency" among African Americans.

Local ministers involved in the project include Rev. George Young, Rev. Vernon Burris, Rev. Vernon Graves, Rev. W.B. Woodberry, Rev. Willard Dallas, and Rev. Charles Rowland. Each has received extensive HIV/AIDS training and is committed to educating and disseminating HIV information to African American congregations.

“Our main objectives are to encourage people to get educated about HIV/AIDS, get tested for HIV, and to get involved in advocating for the resources necessary to fight this disease,” said Michelle Green-Gilbert, OSDH HIV/STD Service Director, Information & Training. “I hope the community will take this opportunity to come out and learn more about the disease and get tested.”

Some of the awareness day activities include:

  • A few ministers will be tested to demonstrate their commitment to leading the fight against HIV/AIDS. Their message is “testing is for EVERYONE, and no one should fear testing.”
  • The ministers involved in the African American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention - P.R.A.Y.E.R. Group will be present to assist in providing spiritual support to the community.
  • Free confidential HIV testing offered.

For more information about HIV/AIDS or a listing of other organizations and locations offering testing, please call Green-Gilbert at 405/271-4636.

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