Senator Judy Eason McIntyre
Senate District 11
Osage and Tulsa Counties
For Immediate Release: March
State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre, left and Senator
Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma County, are the author and co-author
of Senate Bill 1829, which creates a 13-member task force to examine
the HIV/AIDS problem in Oklahoma’s minority communities
and make recommendations for action. The Oklahoma State Senate
approved the measure Tuesday by a 47-0 vote.
Senate Approves Creation of HIV/AIDS Task
The Oklahoma State Senate approved legislation Tuesday
by a 47-0 vote, creating a 13-member task force to examine the HIV/AIDS
problem in Oklahoma’s minority communities and make recommendations
Senate Bill 1829, was authored by State Senator Judy Eason-McIntyre,
D-Tulsa, and co-authored by Senator Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma
County. It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“HIV/AIDS is an epidemic nationwide and growing at an even
faster rate within communities of color,” Eason McIntyre said.
“I believe this task force is the first step in truly addressing
this problem head-on. We have to raise awareness and increase the
knowledge of this deadly disease in Oklahoma. Protecting Oklahoma
minority citizens from HIV/AIDS is a critical priority. This task
force will study the best ways to curb the rate of new cases and
find the best options for testing and treatment.”
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 and hopes
the task force will prove to be an invaluable educational tool.
“HIV/AIDS is in a crisis mode and this task force is the
start to identifying and changing behaviors that put minorities
at risk,” Nash said. “Minorities make up the majority
of the HIV/AIDS cases in the United States, but account for 29 percent
of the U.S. population. Oklahoma’s HIV testing rate for minorities
is low compared to other states because of the lack of testing.
Many minorities (especially blacks) are finding out their HIV positive
at the same time that they finding out that they have an AIDS related
illness. This goes back to HIV not being on the conscience of those
truly at risk for the virus.”
For more information contact:
Senator Eason McIntyre's Office: (405) 521-5598
Senator C. Johnson's Office: (405) 521-5531