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Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza Joins the Fight Against AIDS by Getting Tested for HIV
Date:10/8/2008

NEW YORK, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza demonstrates her commitment to the fight against AIDS, by getting publicly tested for HIV at the 6th annual National Latino AIDS Awareness Day 2008 kick-off event on October 9th at 4 p.m. at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center located at 1680 Lexington Avenue, New York City, New York.

The impact of the epidemic continues to disproportionately affect the health and wellbeing of Latinos across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Latinos in the U.S. represent 15.3% (U.S. Census Bureau) of the population but account for 24.3% of the new HIV infections (CDC). In response to the state of emergency posed by this disease National Latino AIDS Awareness Day was created to raise the visibility of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Latino communities across the country. October 15th was designated as NLAAD, as it culminates the celebration of Hispanic Heritage month and represents a call to action for Latinos across the country to protect the ones you love by getting tested for HIV and accessing prevention services.

"As the epidemic continues to devastate Latino families across the country, it is important to promote that HIV testing should become a routine part of health screening and that we continue to advocate for increased access to culturally and linguistically competent medical care for those living with HIV/AIDS", stated Dennis deLeon, President, Latino Commission on AIDS. "Any of us can emulate the great example set by Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza, who today is serving as a role model for young Latina women by getting testing for HIV."

"As Miss Universe 2008, I support knowing your HIV status and will continue working on increasing HIV/AIDS awareness by focusing on women's health and reproductive rights. As a 22 year old woman, I am particularly invested in supporting young women and educating them about the growing threat of the AIDS epidemic," stated Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza. "By getting tested I hope to encourage Latinos all over the country, to know their status. It is very important that people understand that HIV is preventable, let's learn the facts and get involved."

"Last year community based organizations participating in NLAAD events reported testing over 3,200 individuals, this year with expanded outreach efforts and with the support of Orasure Technologies Inc. we are providing 10,000 Oraquick HIV Testing Kits across the country," stated Liliana Ranon, NLAAD Director.

The Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Federation spearheaded the development of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day in response to growing epidemic. NLAAD was developed as a national organizing vehicle to foster collaboration among community based organizations and local and state health departments to help stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in Latino communities.

The Latino Commission on AIDS is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1990 dedicated to fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Latino/Hispanic communities. The Commission is the leading national Latino AIDS organizations coordinating National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and other prevention and advocacy programs in more than 40 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For more information visit http://www.latinoaids.org or http://www.nlaad.org.

The MISS UNIVERSE(R), MISS USA(R) and MISS TEEN USA(R) Pageants are a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal partnership. Utilizing its nationwide grass roots infrastructure, the Miss Universe Organization is committed to increasing HIV/AIDS awareness by focusing on women's health and reproductive issues. By forging relationships with organizations committed to research and education such as the Latino Commission on AIDS, God's Love We Deliver, APICHA and Gay Men's Health Crisis, Miss Universe is armed to impact women today. For more information visit: http://www.missuniverse.com.


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SOURCE Latino Commission on AIDS
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