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Body Positive Marks a New Era With Continued Commitment and a New Name: The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
Date:5/18/2008

Arizona is Home to the Only HIV/AIDS Service Organization in the United States to Combine Research, Prevention/Education and Wellness Under one

Roof

PHOENIX, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In order to reflect its expanding reach and awareness, Body Positive christened its new name on Saturday, May 17, at "Night for Life," the organization's annual gala fundraiser. Visionaries in the field -- activists, doctors and researchers -- were also among the guests that gathered at the Camelback Inn to celebrate nearly two decades of being at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Arizona as Body Positive, founded in 1990 by Kirk Baxter. The agency's new name, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, marks a new era of the organization's expanded outreach and continued commitment to building awareness locally and regionally.

The vanguard HIV/AIDS organization in the desert Southwest region, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, continues to pave the way for research, prevention, education and wellness for people affected by HIV/AIDS. In an effort to combat this devastating disease, the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS has created broad awareness, and its leading-edge clinical trial program has worked to bring 26 of 28 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to the market to treat this devastating disease. It is the only HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization that delivers all three services in what it coins as an "individual health, individual help" model.

"The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS provides the public with knowledge to prevent this disease while providing critical resources to help individuals live long and well with HIV," said Carol Poore, president and CEO of the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. "Since its inception, the organization has grown in scope to address the shift in reported cases of HIV/AIDS that have erupted among minority women, adult men as well as youth."

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), there are 12,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS in Arizona, and another 12,000 who may be infected but unaware of their status. Among these people, Black and Hispanic women show the largest trend of new infections, with Black women being seven times more likely than women in any other ethnic group to become infected. The changing nature of the disease is evident by the following statistics:

* Hispanics form approximately 28 percent of the population in Arizona

but 20 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases.

* Blacks, while constituting less than four percent of the state's

population, represent 12 percent of the HIV/AIDS cases.

* Native Americans represent five percent of those infected in Arizona.

* Men having sex with other men of all races represent 70 percent of

HIV/AIDS cases.

* Intravenous drug users represent 15 percent of HIV/AIDS cases.

"Many people view HIV/AIDS as a gay man's disease, however the face of HIV/AIDS is changing," said Mark Howard, board chair for Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. "This is not a disease that discriminates, it can affect anyone and we understand the changing needs of the communities we serve. Our particular concern is the careless attitude toward the disease among youth. Many believe that a simple pill can be taken to combat this disease and are unaware of the devastating side affects the medication causes. Prevention is critical as we battle to educate our most important audiences, our youth."

According to ADHS, 490 people will be infected in the next hour. Worldwide, 14,400 people are newly infected each and every day and fighting this disease becomes a devastating reality.

"It is the goal of the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS to bring this destructive epidemic back to the forefront through education and awareness," added Poore. "We want to be on the front lines of preventing this disease from spreading."

The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS proven individual health, individual help approach takes into consideration the client's behavioral state, personal finances, wellness and health, since all these factors greatly affect which medicines each person receives. It also provides a variety of nutritional and naturopathic interventions designed to improve quality of life and overall health.

About the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS

Phoenix-based Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS is the only HIV/AIDS service organization in the United States that combines research, prevention/education and wellness services under one roof. The agency is a leading HIV/AIDS research and resource center, and serves more than 1,200 clients infected by HIV/AIDS while providing outreach to more than 25,000 at-risk men, women and youth annually. The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS' history of partnership with pharmaceutical companies for clinical trial research has helped bring 26 of 28 FDA approved drugs to the market to treat this destructive disease. Visit the Web site http://www.swhiv.org for more information or call 602-307-5330.

Funding at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS

A 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization, several programs at the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS are funded in whole or part by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, the Ryan White Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006, Maricopa County Department of General Government, Arizona Department of Health Services and other state municipalities. Other major funding sources include (but are not limited to) Valley of the Sun United Way, Arizona Diamondbacks, private foundations and donors, and agency fundraising events.


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SOURCE Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
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