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FOR RELEASE: June 18, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

National HIV Testing Day, June 27

According to health officials, more than 200,000 Americans are unaware they are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. New treatments are available to help those living with HIV to enjoy longer lives. However, an individual must first know whether he or she has been infected with HIV to be treated for it. To call attention to the need for HIV prevention, Oklahoma's AIDS Service Organizations, the National Association for People with AIDS (NAPWA), and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) are sponsoring National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

The theme this year is "Take the Test, Take Control" to encourage public education about HIV counseling, testing and treatment. Also, local AIDS service organizations are coordinating activities in many communities to highlight this annual event.

One local public education activity planned is a HIV/AIDS Information Fair at Crossroads Mall, in Oklahoma City on June 27 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. For additional information, call Kristi Kaserman at CarePoint at 405-232-2437.

Another purpose of the National HIV Testing Day is to encourage people who may be at risk of infection to seek counseling and testing. "This is also an opportunity for those individuals who are not familiar with the virus to get factual information about HIV and speak with professionals who are able to answer their questions," said William Pierson, HIV/STD Service Chief. "Anyone can become infected with HIV if they do not take precautionary measures. One of the things health educators stress is the need to choose healthy lifestyles and choices."

For more information about HIV/AIDS call the national toll free hotline at 1-800-535-2437. For information about local activities, call Michelle Green-Gilbert, OSDH HIV/STD Service, Director, Information and Training Division at 405-271-4636.

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