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FOR RELEASE: January 30, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Free Testing Available on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Numerous efforts are being made in Oklahoma to address adversely affected populations and to seek solutions for halting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Oklahoma City and Tulsa will be joining more than 60 other cities across the United States in observing Friday, Feb. 7, as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by offering free testing and confidential individual counseling.

According to health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) HIV/STD Service, about one in five cases of HIV are among African Americans. In 2000, nationally, more African-Americans were reported to have HIV/AIDS than any other racial/ethnic group.

“National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is being observed to encourage individuals to get educated about HIV/AIDS, get tested and get involved in advocating for resources to fight this devastating disease,” said Michelle Green-Gilbert, director of Information and Training for the OSDH HIV/STD Service. “HIV is a preventable disease, but individuals must understand the basics of transmission in order to prevent its spread.”

The OSDH HIV/STD Service will co-sponsor a program at the Holy Temple Baptist Church, 1540 N. E. 50th, in Oklahoma City on Feb. 7 beginning at 1:00 p.m. and concluding at 4:00 p.m. The program will provide free testing and counseling services. Trained counselors from Guiding Right will be available for confidential testing and approximately 10 local clergy will provide counseling as well.

For information about other cities and locations offering free testing, counseling and support on Feb. 7, contact Michelle Green-Gilbert at (405) 271-4636.

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