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For Release: Nov. 24, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications- (405) 271-5601 

Oklahoma City World AIDS Day 2009 - Universal Access and Human Rights

On Dec.1, 1988, the first World Aids Day was celebrated. For over twenty years, this day of celebration is still going strong with more supporters than ever before.  This international day is celebrated around the world to raise awareness and highlight the progress made in the fight against the HIV and AIDS epidemic. This year’s global theme, ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’, promotes the well being of all individuals, striving to break the stereotypes of those infected.

As of Dec. 31, 2008, there were approximately 4,668 people living with HIV/AIDSin Oklahoma. Of these cases 2,337 were HIV Infections and 2,331 were AIDS cases. Over half of the new reported cases in the US are individuals under the age of 25. Those individuals of color are disproportionately affected by AIDS, with African Americans representing over 49 percent of new cases but only represent 12 percent of the population.

Debbie Purton, MPH, RN, interim chief of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) HIV/STD Service said, “The stigma behind HIV and AIDS infection is a barrier, preventing individuals from testing and receiving care. World AIDS Day is dedicated to promoting awareness about HIV and AIDS, breaking free from the shame associated with the infection.”

World AIDS Day events scheduled in Oklahoma City and Tulsa include the following:

Oklahoma City

  • The Oklahoma City Memorial Service hosted by the World AIDS Day Committee of the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, will be on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mayflower Congregational Church, 3901 N.W. 63rd Street. This service is a time of celebration and remembrance and is free and open to the public. Following the service, a reception will be hosted with musical performances. For more information, contact Jaeson Post, 405-228-9531.
  • The Langston University Professional Counseling Center will be hosting a World AIDS Day Luncheon "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 at Langston University. The luncheon will begin at 12 noon with an informational program followed by free rapid testing sponsored by Guiding Right Inc. For more information contact Dr. William Price Curtis, Director of the Professional Counseling Center at 405-466-3201 and for more information about HIV testing contact Nina Johnson, Prevention Coordinator of Guiding Right, Inc. at 405-733-0771 ext. 305 or www.GuidingRight.org.
  • Red Rock Behavioral Health Sciences at 4400 N. Lincoln will be offering Rapid HIV Testing on Tuesday, Dec.1, 2009. For more information, contact Mike Maus (405) 425-0473.
  • A candle light vigil will be hosted by the Latino Community Development Agency, 420 SW 10th St on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Nohora Chandler (405) 236-0701.
  • On Tuesday, Dec.1, 2009, Tulsa Cares is hosting a free symposium Together We Live, for people to have a better understanding of how to prevent HIV infection; how to live positively with HIV/AIDS, and how to be more sensitive to the issues that people living with the disease face each day.  Located at the Central Community Center in Centennial Park, 1028 E. Sixth St.  Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. with workshops from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  To register, visit www.TulsaCares.org, or call Tulsa CARES, 918-834-4194, ext. 18.  Please register by Nov. 27, 2009.

For locations of Oklahoma HIV testing sites, visit www.health.ok.gov, call the Oklahoma HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-535-2437 (AIDS) or text “KnowIt” (566948), enter your zip code, and a listing of testing locations will be text back to your phone.




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