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FOR RELEASE: November 28 , 2007
World AIDS Day, December 1 -- “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”
World AIDS Day will be commemorated around the globe on Saturday, Dec. 1, with news and events to highlight progress made in the battle against the AIDS epidemic and to remind everyone how much still needs to be done. The theme for this year’s event, “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise,” focuses on the necessity of committed leadership in addressing the myriad of AIDS issues in all sectors of society.
“There are numerous services available to assist Oklahomans who are living with HIV and AIDS. Yet, many persons are still not informed of their HIV status. We support leadership efforts that promote effective prevention messages and assure that access to treatment is available for anyone in need,” said Michael Harmon, chief of the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s HIV/STD Service. “We must also continue to address the ongoing stigma and discrimination issues associated with HIV, which are a potential barrier to people coming forward for testing and accessing care," he emphasized.
The World AIDS Campaign has launched the “Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge” with the goal of having at least 100,000 pledges collected online, by mail or at events held throughout 2008. These pledges will serve as a persuasive tool for leveraging greater political leadership on universal access to AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support, and act as a visual example for key national and international decision makers to follow. To sign the “Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge,” visit www.worldaidscampaign.info/static/en/participate/.
In 2005, the most recent year in which both state and national AIDS data have been reported, the cumulative number of AIDS cases in Oklahoma was 4,651, with 956,019 cases reported nationally. Also that year, there were 282 new AIDS cases reported in Oklahoma compared to 41,993 new AIDS cases nationally, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).
World AIDS Day events scheduled in Oklahoma City and Tulsa include the following:
The service will be a time of remembrance and a celebration of life. Several agencies will be supporting this event including the Red Cross of Greater OKC, Red Rock North and Guiding Right, Inc.
For locations of Oklahoma HIV testing sites, call the toll-free 24-hour HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-232-4636 or visit this Web site: www.hivtest.org/.
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