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Congresswoman Norton, Mayor Fenty, Verizon and the Washington Wizards Join the Test for Life Campaign to Encourage HIV Screenings in DC
Date:2/5/2008

Groups come together for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day this Thursday

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In coordination with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day this Thursday, February 7, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mayor Adrian Fenty, the Washington Wizards and Verizon Washington, DC have teamed up with the Test for Life campaign to provide free and confidential testing events to encourage residents to be screened for HIV.

"It is important to support campaigns like Test for Life taking place throughout the community to combat the District's disproportionately high rates of HIV/AIDS," said Congresswoman Norton. "Awareness and policies like needle-exchange programs I have worked to promote will make a real difference in reducing the spread of HIV. However, encouraging people to know their status by providing free and safe testing must serve as the foundation to significantly reduce these drastic numbers and save lives."

Through a generous donation from Verizon Washington, DC, the mayor and the Washington Wizards, featuring Antawn Jamison, have launched television and radio public service announcements to encourage HIV testing and to inform the public about several free and confidential HIV screening events during the month of February.

One in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and 1 in 50 residents are thought to have AIDS, according to a city health report released last November.

"We want to help make the community aware of this epidemic," said Wizards forward Antawn Jamison. "The Washington Wizards are happy to be working with the sponsors, Mayor Fenty and Congresswoman Norton to help convey the importance of HIV testing in the Washington area."

Test for Life began in 2006 as an educational campaign of the National Minority Quality Forum, designed to raise awareness of the importance of routine HIV screening in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Center for Disease Control's revised recommendations for HIV Testing are essential to improving early diagnosis of HIV and linking patients to early care and treatment of the disease.

Test for Life is holding three days of testing with Us Helping Us, an HIV prevention organization serving the Washington area, and the Whitman-Walker Clinic where residents can come and receive free and confidential HIV screening in a safe and secure environment. The first event was held this past Saturday, February 2 at the Temple of praise on Southern Avenue, SE. Testing will be provided at the following Washington, DC locations:

Saturday, February 2

10:00am - 12:00pm

Temple of Praise

700 Southern Avenue, SE

Saturday, February 9 and 16

10:00am - 4:00pm

Us Helping Us

3636 Georgia Avenue, NW

Saturday, February 9 and 16

9:00am - 3:00pm

Whitman-Walker Clinic

Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center

1701 14th Street, NW

Saturday, February 9 and 16

9:00am - 3:00pm

Whitman-Walker Clinic

Max Robinson Center

2301 M. L. King Jr. Avenue, SE

Test for Life is also working with a number of the DC faith-based organizations to help promote the testing events and the need for increased screening throughout the District.

"We need to get the word out to all of the residents of DC that testing is safe, secure and important," said Mayor Fenty. "I am excited to join the Wizards and Verizon to help get the message out to DC residents to Test for Life."

"We are a community partner in Washington and we are proud to be a sponsor of the Test for Life campaign to help stem this growing crisis," said William R. Roberts, President, Verizon Maryland and Washington, D.C. "HIV screenings are an important step in providing the services available for care and treatment, and because of that, we are playing a part in this campaign."

"It is important that DC residents band together to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and to ensure that individuals who are infected have access to necessary treatment and care," said Gary Puckrein, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum. "We would like to thank Mayor Fenty, the Washington Wizards and Verizon Washington, DC for their support and dedication to this campaign."

For more information on Test for life, or for the Washington, DC testing events, visit http://www.testforlife.org or call the toll-free number at 1-877-796-5400. For press inquiries, please see the below contact list:

Test for Life: Maura O'Connor (202) 572-6252

Washington Wizards Communications Department: Zack Bolno, Brian Sereno, Daren Jenkins or Whitney Van Wyk at 202-661-5112

Verizon Washington, DC: Christy Reap 202-392-1021


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SOURCE Test for Life
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