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FOR RELEASE: November 28 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

World AIDS Day, December 1
“Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”

World AIDS Day will be commemorated around the globe on Thursday, Dec. 1, with news and events to highlight progress made in the battle against the AIDS epidemic and to remind people how much still needs to be done. This year's theme, "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise," is an appeal to governments and policy makers to ensure they meet the targets they have agreed to in the fight against HIV/AIDS, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

In 2003, the most recent year in which both state and national AIDS data have been reported, the cumulative estimated number of AIDS cases in Oklahoma was 4,441, and nationally there were 902,223 cases. Also that year, there were 213 new AIDS cases reported in Oklahoma compared to 44,963 new AIDS cases nationally.

“AIDS has had a devastating impact on our communities. Often impoverished conditions and depressed economic circumstances tend to accompany an increased presence of HIV. We must continue to develop and implement ways to communicate effective measures that will help our citizens avoid the disease or provide easy access to receive testing for HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS,” said Michael Harmon, chief of the OSDH HIV/STD Service. “We also need to continue to address the ongoing stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, which is a potential barrier to people coming forward for testing," he emphasized.

For locations of Oklahoma testing sites, call the toll-free 24-hour Oklahoma HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-536-AIDS (2437). Some special events being planned for World AIDS Day include:

  • Langston University/OSU Tulsa campus is hosting a World AIDS Day event from 4:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 1. Included in the event will be a health fair and HIV testing at 4:30 p.m., a commemorative Walk/Candle Lighting at 6:30 p.m., and guest speakers at 7 p.m. New AIDS quilt panels will also be showcased. For information, call Milton Harris at (918) 282-8360 or miltonharrisjr@cox.net.
  • “Ending AIDS” will debut to general audiences on PBS stations nationwide on Dec. 1. Check local listings. Narrated by Richard Gere, “Ending AIDS” chronicles the complicated history of AIDS vaccine research from the initial optimism by biotech firms, to signs from Nairobi, Kenya, that there are some groups who seem to have remained disease free even after repeated exposure to the virus, to promising results by researchers working with the monkey equivalent of HIV called SIV, to the hurdles that still remain.

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