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For Release: March 3, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

State Health Department Highlights March HIV/AIDS Awareness Activities

March is a month full of opportunities to increase understanding of a disease that affects certain groups of people more than others. Through efforts both nationally and locally, two events will be recognized: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Tuesday, March 10, and National Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Friday, March 20. These events bring attention and education to various groups throughout the nation about the extreme effects of HIV/AIDS in their communities. It is a time for reflection, learning and action.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be recognized on Tuesday, March 10. The theme for this year is “HIV is Right Here at Home.” The campaign encourages women and girls to get tested. In 2005, women represented 26 percent of new AIDS diagnoses, compared to only 11 percent of new AIDS cases reported in 1990. Most women are infected with HIV through heterosexual contact and injection drug use. Women of color are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS – one in 30 African American women will become infected with HIV – and it is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34.

Local Events Promoting National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:

Guiding Right, Inc., will host an event entitled “A Day of Health and Beauty” at Central State Massage Academy in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, March 10. This event will promote awareness about the disproportionate impact of HIV among African American women and girls as well as domestic violence. Selected participants will enjoy a day of pampering and education with complimentary wash and curls, manicures and facials courtesy of the Central State Massage Academy. For more information, contact Nina Johnson at Guiding Right, Inc., (405) 733-0771 or njohnson@guidingright.org.

Health, Outreach, Prevention, Education, Inc. (HOPE) will create a flier and HIV education lesson for local Girl Scouts and Camp Fire chapters in Tulsa for girls in grades 10-12. Contact Kate Neary-Pounds at (918) 749-8378 or kate@hoptesting.org for detailed information.

National Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Friday, March 20. The theme for this year is “A Celebration of Life.” HIV is affecting thousands of American Indians and Alaskan Natives. These groups have the third highest infection rates in the United States, despite having the smallest population. This HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will challenge Native people to create a greater awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS in their communities, to reflect on those who have passed and those who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, to call for increased resources for testing and early detection, and to seek support for increasing treatment and care options.

Local Events Promoting National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:

For National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, HOPE will partner with Riverside Indian School at 101 Riverside Drive in Anadarko on Thursday, March 19. Four staff members from HOPE will present an HIV/AIDS education lesson and offer rapid HIV testing to 70 students. Contact Kate Neary-Pounds at (918) 749-8378 or kate@hoptesting.org for more information.
The third annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be observed on Friday, March 20, at the Concho Community Center at 200 Wolf Robe Circle, Concho. A Health Fair and Powwow has been planned and registration will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Grand Entry is at 1 p.m. and supper will be served at 5:30 p.m. There will be presentations at 7 p.m. and various traditional native dancing contests. HIV/AIDS educational materials and health screenings will be offered at the Health Fair. The Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes, The Oklahoma Native American AIDS Coalition, Association of American Indian Physicians, Indian Health Service, Cheyenne and Arapaho Health Education Program and the Indian Community Health Representative will sponsor this event. For additional information, call Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Health Education, (405) 422-7676 or (405) 422-7674.


For more information about HIV/AIDS related events occurring in your area, visit http://www.hhs.gov/aidsawarenessdays/ or contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health HIV/STD Service, Prevention Training Specialist Amani Smiley, at (405) 271-4636.

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