Senator Judy Eason McIntyre
Senate District 11
Osage and Tulsa Counties
For Immediate Release: February 14, 2008
Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre
Senate Committee Approves Creation of HIV/AIDS Task Force
The Senate Health and Human Resources Committee unanimously
approved legislation Thursday that would create a 13-member task
force to examine the HIV/AIDS problem in Oklahoma’s minority
communities and make recommendations for action.
Senate Bill 1829, was authored by State Senator Judy Eason-McIntyre,
D-Tulsa, and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
“The fastest growing health crisis across the nation in minority
communities is HIV/AIDS,” said Senator Eason-McIntyre. “Here
in Oklahoma, we must make it a priority to educate our citizens
and raise awareness on this deadly epidemic. This task force will
study the best ways to curb the rate of cases, find the best options
for testing and treatment and protect our citizens from HIV/AIDS.”
The task force mandate includes assessing the problem of HIV and
AIDS in the minority community; including the availability of access
to testing and treatment; review programs throughout the nation
that have had success in promoting HIV testing and in reducing the
rate of new HIV infections; and in coordination with the State Department
of Health, identify funds available from the state and federal government
that may be used as grants for a pilot program for innovative and
effective strategies to promote HIV testing.
The task force will also hold two statewide meetings, one in Oklahoma
City and one in Tulsa, to allow the public to present all views
and concerns regarding HIV and AIDS. It will publish a report of
its findings and recommendations by Dec.1, 2008.
Task force members will include appointees from Gov. Brad Henry;
the Speaker of the House; the Senate Pro Tempore; and designees
from the Commissioner of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services;
the State Commissioner of Health; the Chief Executive Officer of
the Oklahoma Health Care Authority; and the State Department of
Public Instruction. Its first meeting will be held by July 15.
Heather Nash, community programs coordinator with the Tulsa Red
Cross, applauded Sen. Eason-McIntyre for her legislation.
“HIV/AIDS is an epidemic that is not on the consciences
of minority people as a result by the time those that are infected
find out it unfortunately it is too late,” Ms. Nash said.
“This task force is the beginning of defining what high risk
is for minorities that live in Oklahoma. Black women definitely
do not meet the profile of the current definition of high risk category
for HIV infection, but make up 74 percent of the new infections
among women nationally. Stigma, fear and the lack of trust keeps
minorities from entering the agencies that can help educate, test
and prolong life for those infected.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African
Americans make up 7.8 percent of Oklahoma’s population and
the diagnosis rate of HIV/AIDS for that group in this state is 33
percent. Hispanics make up 6.9 percent of Oklahoma’s population
and have a diagnosis rate for HIV/AIDS of 15.1 percent.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports that by the end
of 2006, there had been 7,342 people diagnosed with either HIV or
AIDS in Oklahoma since statistical record- keeping began in 1988.
Among all the cases diagnosed, 20 percent (1,477) of the cases were
OSDH statistics show that in 2006, African Americans saw about
an eight percent increase of newly reported AIDS cases with 62 compared
to 44 cases in 2005. New HIV cases remained steady with 52 new cases
in 2006 compared to 53 cases in 2005.
Hispanics in Oklahoma saw an increase in AIDS cases, but a decrease
in HIV cases. In 2005, there were 12 HIV and 25 AIDS cases for Hispanics.
By 2006, new HIV cases for Hispanics increased to 21, but decreased
for AIDS cases with 18. Native Americans saw their HIV and AIDS
reported cases drop in 2006 with 11 HIV and 13 AIDS cases compared
to 12 HIV and 15 AIDS cases in 2005.
For more information contact:
Senator Eason McIntyre's Office: (405) 521-5598