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For Release: Jan. 31, 2011 
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601

Activities Set To Encourage Testing on Black HIV/AIDS Day, Feb. 7

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) on Monday,Feb. 7, is a community mobilization effort designed to encourage Blacks to be tested and treated for HIV/AIDS. This year’s theme, “It takes a village to fight HIV/AIDS,” stresses the importance to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated.

While Blacks represent approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Blacks account for almost half of the nation’s AIDS cases.  In its 11th year, NBHADD continues to highlight the devastating impact the virus and disease have had on Black America.  Unfortunately, many of those who are infected with HIV are unaware of their status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. 

In Oklahoma, among racial and ethnic groups, Blacks/African Americans had the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS cases for 2009.  Their rate was almost four times the rate for the entire state.  The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and community partners agree that it is time to mobilize and talk about this devastating disease. “In order to make a difference, we must fully support community efforts to educate and bring awareness to this issue,” said Jan Fox, chief, OSDH HIV/STD Service.

Some of the community efforts being held in Oklahoma City and Tulsa for Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day include the following:

Oklahoma City Area Activities:

Guiding Right Inc. (GRI) will partner with the University of Central Oklahoma’s Black Student Association to bring awareness and education about HIV/AIDS to their “Earthquake…the Divine Measures” Greek Step Show. The event takes place at the Rose State Performing Arts Center located at 6420 SE 15th St. in Midwest City, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4.  Students will have an opportunity to purchase discounted tickets to the step show after party by taking a free and confidential HIV test at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Nigh University Center, located at 100 N. University Drive in Edmond on Wednesday, Feb. 2, and Thursday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Testing will be provided by GRI.For information about HIV testing, contact Nina Johnson, Prevention Coordinator of GRI at (405) 733-0771 ext. 322.  For information about the Greek Step Show, contact Lindsay Echols, Coordinator of Multicultural Student Services at the University of Central Oklahoma, at (405) 974-3588.

Tulsa Area Activities:

GRI -Tulsa will partner with the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League to provide HIV/AIDS awareness, education and free and confidential HIV testing. The Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League is located at 240 East Apache in Tulsa. Another testing site will be at GRI, located at 5424 N. Madison, Tulsa. Both sites will provide testing to the North Tulsa community from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 7. For more information about HIV testing available, call Heather Nash, Health Educator of GRI at (918) 591-6034 or (918) 344-3010; or contact the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League at (918) 584-0001.

There are numerous free HIV/AIDS testing sites throughout Oklahoma.  In addition, Oklahoma and Tulsa county health departments provide comprehensive sexually transmitted infection testing (including HIV) and applicable treatment on weekdays.  To find the nearest site, call 211 or contact a county health department in your area.

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