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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 7, 2007

Senator Constance N. Johnson
Senator Constance N. Johnson

State Senate Resolution Brings Attention to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

While African Americans represent 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for nearly half of the new cases of HIV. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Organizations across the country are hoping to bring attention to the epidemic with events marking February 7, 2007, as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. In order to help raise awareness in Oklahoma, Sen. Constance N. Johnson authored a resolution to help bring attention to the issue. Senate Resolution 6 was approved on Wednesday.

“When you consider that Oklahoma ranks third in the nation overall for sexually transmitted diseases, the ramifications are more than frightening,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma City. “Clearly, we need to do a better job of educating our citizens about this deadly disease.”

Johnson said she was especially concerned about the impact of the disease on the state’s youngest citizens. According to the CDC, 65 percent of infants infected with HIV before birth were African American. Johnson said it was critical to raise public awareness about how to prevent the disease and to encourage more people to be tested.

As part of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, organizations such as Guiding Right, Inc., based in Midwest City, offered free HIV testing and educational materials on prevention.

“Thirty percent of those infected with HIV don’t even know they have it. We’ve got to do a better job of encouraging people to get screened so they won’t infect others,” Johnson said. “The disease has particularly impacted African Americans, but ultimately, we are all affected and will share the burden of this epidemic. That’s why we all need to come together to stop it in its tracks.”

For more information contact:
Senator C. Johnson's Office - (405) 521-5531

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