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For Release: June 19, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

National HIV Testing Day

“I Know. I Took the Test” is the theme for National HIV Testing Day on Saturday, June 27. In 1995, the National Association of People with AIDS established this day for local organizations across the nation to engage with communities to promote early HIV testing and diagnosis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 250,000 of the one million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are unaware of their status. As of December 31, 2007, there were approximately 4,286 people living with HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma. That is 235 more people infected than the previous year, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) HIV/STD Service.

“National HIV Testing Day was created to educate and bring awareness to the benefit of early detection of HIV infection,” said Jan Fox, chief, OSDH HIV/STD Service. “Taking the test is a major step toward prevention. Studies have shown that once someone has tested and learned their status, he or she is more likely to use effective prevention tools and techniques to protect themselves from HIV infection or infecting partners.”

Confidential HIV testing is available during June at various locations throughout the state. The following are activities planned in the Oklahoma City area.

• June 26-28 is OKC Pride Weekend. The AIDS Care Fund in collaboration with various community-based organizations including the OSDH will be offering free rapid HIV testing. On Saturday, June 27, testing will be offered at Memorial Park, NW 36th Street and N. Classen Boulevard in Oklahoma City from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Sunday, June 28, testing will be offered on the 39th Street strip (next to Angles Club), 2117 NW 39th, in Oklahoma City from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, contact Sunshine Schillings of the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund at (405) 408-4013.

• Red Rock North will provide free and confidential HIV testing on June 27 in Oklahoma City. Contact Mike Maus at (405) 425-0473 for details.

• Guiding Right, Inc. (G.R.I.) is a community organization whose focus is specifically on the African-American population living and/or affected by HIV and the AIDS epidemic. GRI will provide free confidential and targeted mobile HIV testing on the following days:
• Friday, June 26: HIV testing from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Club Kamps,
1310 NW 25 in Oklahoma City.
• Saturday, June 27: HIV Testing at G.R.I.’s main office at
7901 NE 10th St., Suite A-111, Midwest City; walk-in testing
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Saturday, June 27: HIV testing at Club Doris' , 2823 S. Agnew
in Oklahoma City from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

For further information contact Nina Johnson at (405) 733-0771 or
njohnson@guidingright.org .

Activities planned for the Tulsa area include the following:

• Health Outreach Prevention Education, Inc. (H.O.P.E.) will recognize National HIV Testing Day on Saturday, June 27. Services will be provided at H.O.P.E.’s facility, 3540 E. 31st Street (southwest corner of 31st Street and Louisville) in Tulsa from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For appointments, call (918) 749-TEST (8378). Walk-ins are also welcome. H.O.P.E. staff will also provide walk-in services at the following locations: Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, 240 E. Apache Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Oklahomans for Equality (OKEQ), 621 E. 4th Street in Tulsa, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free anonymous and confidential HIV tests will be administered. For that day only, June 27, the rapid 15-minute test will be available free. The day will also include free educational materials, prevention supplies and snacks. For additional information, contact Kate Neary-Pounds at (918) 749-8378 or access www.hopetesting.org.

For more information about National HIV Testing Day, visit http://www.hhs.gov/aidsawarenessdays/days/testing/index.html .

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