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FOR RELEASE: November 28 , 2007
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 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:

Oklahoma City

  • The World AIDS Day Committee of the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City will hold a World AIDS Day Memorial Service on Friday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. at Mayflower Congregational Church, 3901 N. W. 63rd Street, Oklahoma City.

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.

  • The African-American Faith Community for AIDS Prevention (A.A.F.C.A.P) is planning a World AIDS Day program on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Community Abundant Life Church located at 1701 N.W. 7th St., Oklahoma City. Rev. Derrick Richardson is the pastor of the church and chairman of A.A.F.C.A.P. For additional information, contact Saundra Lucas at (580) 585-6670.
  • The Church of the Open Arms and the Oklahoma Native American AIDS Coalition will be hosting an event on Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Church of the Open Arms, 3131 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, Oklahoma City. A candlelight vigil will convene at 7 p.m.
  • The Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City will be providing free HIV testing on Dec. 2 at The Flea Market “La Pulga de la 10” at 1001 N. Penn, Oklahoma City, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call Claudia Barajas at (405) 236-0701.

Tulsa

  • On Thursday, Nov. 29, the H.O.P.E. testing clinic, 3540 East 31st Street in Tulsa, will be offering free rapid HIV tests from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Educational materials will also be available. For more information, contact Kate Neary-Pounds at (918) 749-8378.
  • The AIDS Coalition of Tulsa, in collaboration with the Tulsa Community AIDS Partnership (TCAP), will host a World AIDS Day event on Saturday evening, Dec. 1, at All Souls Unitarian Church from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., 2952 South Peoria Avenue. Dr. Melanie Spector, director of the HIV Prevention Program for Incarcerated Men and Women, and Sharon Thoele, director of Tulsa C.A.R.E.S., are invited speakers to address the worldwide theme for the day. For more information, contact Janice Nicklas at (918) 699-4226.

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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