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FOR RELEASE: June 19, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

National HIV Testing Day - June 27
Encourages Early Diagnosis and Treatment

The ninth annual HIV Testing Day will be June 27, featuring the theme "Take the Test, Take Control." Health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) say there are an estimated quarter of a million Americans who are unaware that they are infected with HIV.

In Oklahoma, approximately 4,300 persons are known to be living with HIV/AIDS.

“An important reason for promoting voluntary HIV counseling and testing is to enable people to access effective care, treatment, support and prevention programs,” said OSDH HIV/STD Service Chief William R. Pierson. “Early diagnosis can mean longer, healthier lives for thousands of people.”

The National HIV Testing Day is sponsored by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, BMS Virology, Abbott Virology, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Know HIV/AIDS.

Knowing your HIV status is an essential step in taking control of your life. Health officials encourage Oklahomans to learn more about free confidential HIV testing and counseling services. For information on what is available in your community, contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s HIV/STD Service at 405/ 271-4636, or contact your local county health department.

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