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FOR RELEASE: January 25 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Oklahoma Joins National Response to AIDS Crisis Among African Americans

Many of Oklahoma’s African American leaders and organizations are poised to address the impact of HIV and AIDS on the state’s African American community during National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Wednesday, Feb. 7. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is working with these groups on a variety of events to encourage African Americans to get educated, get tested, get involved and get treated for HIV/AIDS.

Both statewide and nationally, the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to be a health crisis for African Americans. Nationally, it is the number one cause of death for African American women aged 25 to 34, and almost half of the total AIDS cases reported in the United States are among members of the black community. In Oklahoma, 18 percent of the persons diagnosed with AIDS are African American, yet blacks represent only slightly less than eight percent of the state’s total population. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women across racial and ethnic groups most commonly report heterosexual contact or injection drug use as their primary mode of exposure to HIV.

Oklahoma joins nine national organizations and numerous other states and cities around the country in utilizing the National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event to call attention to the problem and seek solutions to halt the epidemic in the African American community. For more information about the national event, visit this Web site for more information: www.blackaidsday.org. For information about Oklahoma events planned in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, contact Pat Kelly, OSDH coordinator of HIV/STD Public Information and Special Projects at (405) 271-4636. For general information about HIV/AIDS, call the CDC HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-232-4636.

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