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For Release:  January 31, 2012 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

African Americans have Highest Rate of New HIV/AIDS cases in Oklahoma
February Events Raise Awareness 

Nearly 5,000 Oklahomans are living with HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma, and of that number 1,170 are African American. Among racial and ethnic groups, Blacks/African Americans have the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS cases in Oklahoma – almost five times higher than for other groups.

“This is a troubling health disparity,” said Jan Fox, chief of the HIV/STD Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). “We have stepped up our efforts to address this through our health education programs and the community organizations we support.”

As part of that effort, the OSDH is observing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) on Tuesday, Feb. 7. This national HIV/AIDS testing and treatment community mobilization effort is designed to encourage Changing the Course of HIV/AIDS, 1 Black Life at a Time. The observance highlights the effect 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.  February is a good time to mobilize and talk about this devastating disease and encourage Blacks to get educated, get tested, get involved, and get treated for HIV/AIDS,” said Fox.

Below is a list of activities that Guiding Right, Inc. (GRI) an HIV/AIDS prevention organization whose target audience is African Americans, has planned in Oklahoma City and Tulsa for the NBHAAD observance. 

  • GRI, Oklahoma City office and Hopkins Haircare & Enterprises will present the “Are You Positive You are Negative” (R U + U R -)  Testing Event hosted at Hopkins Haircare located at 7128 East Reno in Midwest City, on Feb. 11. Rapid HIV screenings will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and those who receive an HIV test will obtain a $5.00 reduction off any hair service. The event will also serve to educate patrons about HIV/AIDS, encourage routine testing for HIV and promote treatment and care for those who are HIV positive. For more information about this event, contact Nina Johnson at (405) 733-0771, ext. 322 or Mr. DePorres “Dee” Hopkins at (405) 514-6287.   Also, on Feb. 23 -24, GRI (OKC) will distribute HIV/AIDS materials to University of Oklahoma students attending the Big 12 Conference in Norman.  Please contact Nina Johnson for specific details.
  • GRI, Tulsa office will collaborate with The Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League to provide free and confidential HIV testing. The Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, located at 240 East Apache, will provide confidential HIV screenings from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 7. For more information about this event contact: Heather Nash, Health Educator of Guiding Right, Inc. at (918) 591-6034 or (918) 344-3010.   For information about The Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League call (918) 584-0001. 

There are various free HIV/AIDS testing sites throughout Oklahoma.  In addition, Oklahoma and Tulsa city-county health departments provide comprehensive sexually transmitted infection testing (including HIV) and applicable treatment on weekdays.  To find the nearest site, call 2-1-1 or contact the county health department in your area.  For more information on NBHAAD, visit www.blackaidsday.org.





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