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Now Playing: Spike Lee Stands with Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, Cookie Johnson and Abbott to Launch National PSA Campaign
Date:6/9/2008

LOS ANGELES, June 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, Earvin "Magic" Johnson (http://www.magicjohnson.com/index.php?/foundation/), Cookie Johnson, Abbott (http://www.abbott.com/) (NYSE: ABT) and the Magic Johnson Foundation launched a public service announcement campaign as part of the "I Stand With Magic Program," part of "The Campaign to End Black HIV/AIDS," directed by Academy Award-nominated director Spike Lee. The public service announcement campaign will premiere nationally this summer and is targeted toward African-American and other minority communities where new HIV infections are prevalent. In 2005, about half of the people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the United States were among African Americans, who represent about 13 percent of the population.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080609/AQM020-a)

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080609/AQM020-b)

When Lee and his agency, Spike DDB, were approached to create and to direct the two 30-second public service announcements, he immediately agreed because of his passion for the cause, his support of the "I Stand with Magic" program and his longstanding friendship with the Johnsons.

"We need real outcomes, not just outputs. I encourage leaders in the Black community to take action, get talking and take a stand in their neighborhoods," said Lee. "This PSA was developed to educate people about this disease. This campaign keeps pounding the message home. More than 80,000 people have received information about the campaign through http://www.istandwithmagic.com, and more than 20,000 HIV tests have been conducted as a result of Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation's efforts to help raise awareness of this public health issue. Spike DDB is proud to be a part of it."

The first PSA entitled, "Stand," focuses on a "call to action" encouraging African-Americans to get educated, get tested and to seek treatment for HIV. The second PSA, titled "Talk" encourages women to protect themselves and talk to their partners about safe sex and HIV. Both will also be featured on Abbott.com and YouTube, an online video sharing Web site. The public service announcement campaign launches in advance of National HIV Testing Day on June 27, 2008.

"We need to take it upon ourselves to bring the number of new infections down in the Black communities by arming ourselves with knowledge," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "Getting tested for HIV can be scary for many people, but I hope by launching these public service announcements to at-risk populations, people across the country will have the courage to get tested and go back for their results."

"Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation are committed to making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS by providing communities with information and resources for prevention and testing and educational materials to share with family and friends," said Mary Szela, senior vice president, Pharmaceutical Operations, Abbott.

The premiere event and appearance day took place at the AMC Magic Johnson Crenshaw 15 movie theater in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a city which is ranked third for the number of AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004. Los Angeles had the highest number of AIDS cases in California, more than twice the number of any other county, in 2006.

HIV/AIDS in the United States

-- Since the beginning of the epidemic, African Americans account for more

than 40 percent of the nearly one million AIDS cases diagnosed. Through

2005, 53 percent of the African Americans diagnosed with AIDS have

died.

-- In 2005, the rate of AIDS diagnoses for African Americans was

approximately 10 times the rate of Caucasians and almost three times

that of Hispanics.

-- Additionally, AIDS disproportionately affects African-American women

with a diagnosis rate almost 23 times that of Caucasian women in 2005.

"I Stand With Magic Program," Part of the "Campaign to End Black HIV/AIDS

Through the "I Stand With Magic" program, Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation are joining forces to address the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. Through this partnership, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Abbott will create educational activities and testing events in cities with high HIV infection rates. In 2006, the initiative embarked on a 10-city tour of high schools and counseling centers across the nation to provide HIV testing, education and additional resources for HIV-positive individuals. In 2007, the program has visited almost 200 churches, high schools and colleges. For more information and to "stand with Magic" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, visit http://www.istandwithmagic.com.

About the Magic Johnson Foundation

The Magic Johnson Foundation (http://www.magicjohnson.com/index.php?/foundation/) was established in 1991 as a single-disease organization that works to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. The Foundation has since responded to the growing need to address all aspects of our youth's lives by expanding its mission. This expanded mission emphasizes the Foundation's focus on supporting community-based organizations and development programs that serve the health, educational and social needs of those residing in minority communities. For more information, please visit http://www.magicjohnson.org.

About Spike DDB

Spike DDB is a full-service advertising agency with expertise in urban markets, sports and entertainment branding. The agency is a partnership formed by acclaimed film director Spike Lee and DDB Worldwide Communications group.

About Abbott

Abbott has been a leader in HIV/AIDS (http://www.abbott.com/global/url/content/en_US/40.5:5/general_content/Gene ral _Content_00326.htm) research since the early years of the epidemic. In 1985, the company developed the first licensed test to detect HIV antibodies in the blood and remains a leader in HIV diagnostics. Abbott retroviral and hepatitis tests are used to screen more than half of the world's donated blood supply. Abbott has developed two protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV.

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs more than 68,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com.


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SOURCE Abbott
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