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For Release: Nov. 29, 2012 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601

Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation

As the world takes note of World AIDS Day this Saturday, Dec. 1, closer to home, Oklahomans are reminded of the battle still being waged against AIDS, a preventable disease.

Through 2011, nearly 2,400 AIDS cases have been reported in Oklahoma. In addition, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been reported in about 2,500 Oklahomans. Data just released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that nationally, young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent about a quarter of the new HIV infections each year. Sixty percent of youth living with HIV are unaware they are infected. The greatest number of infections occur among gay and bisexual youth. Nearly half of all new infections among youth occur in African American males.

“These numbers are concerning and emphasize there is still a gap in knowledge about HIV transmission,” said Jan Fox, chief of the HIV/STD Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “Stigma and discrimination associated with HIV are barriers for many who choose not to be tested. Delayed testing for HIV often means an individual not only finds out he or she has HIV, but AIDS as well.”

By calling 2-1-1, anyone can find a free and confidential HIV test site in Oklahoma. Test site information is also available at www.health.ok.gov, or by calling the toll-free 24-hour Oklahoma HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-536-AIDS (2437).

Among the World AIDS Day events scheduled in Oklahoma on Saturday, Dec. 1 are the following:

  • Guiding Right, Inc. in Oklahoma City will provide free, confidential testing at the Habana Inn, 2200 N.W. 40th Street from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Contact Zenita Hughes at (405) 733-0771 ext. 322.
  • Health Outreach Prevention Education (HOPE) Inc. in Tulsa will host The First Annual World AIDS Day Mistletoe Run beginning at 2 p.m. near Cain's Ballroom at North Main and East Easton. The World AIDS Day Mistletoe Run is a 5K, and 1Mile timed run combined with a 1Mile dog walk benefiting HOPE, a Tulsa nonprofit community-based health organization which provides dependable, high-quality, comprehensive and accessible prevention education, counseling, testing, and linkage to medical care and social services to those affected by HIV/AIDS. Awards will be given for 1st place in all age groups for the 5K and 1Mile Fun Run. Awards will also be given for the most creative dog costume, most creative holiday dog costume, and the most creative dog bandana. Participants can have their photo taken in the Route 66 Photo Booth, enjoy live entertainment by Mark Gibson, and enjoy food and beverages after the completion of the run/walk. Contact Melissa Baker at (918) 688-9360.
  • World AIDS Day Memorial Service will be held at 7 p.m. at Expressions Church, 4010 N. Youngs Blvd in Oklahoma City. Twenty agencies partner to plan and support this annual event. Contact Chuck Longacre at (405) 521-0897.

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