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OPEN LETTER: Medical Journal Calls Upon Barack Obama to Set the Record Straight on AIDS Virus
Date:4/30/2008

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jeffrey Laurence, M.D., editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed medical journal, AIDS Patient Care and STDs (http://www.liebertpub.com/apc), and the journal's publisher, Mary Ann Liebert, are calling upon Senator Barack Obama to set the record straight about the AIDS virus, which his pastor, Jeremiah Wright said was an attempt by the United States government to wipe out people of color. "It is not enough for Senator Obama to distance himself from Jeremiah Wright's accusations or denounce him; there is an important distinction between being outraged and setting the record straight about how the virus is transmitted," said Ms. Liebert, President and CEO of the publishing company that bears her name. "Senator Obama has not done that, and he has a responsibility to the generation and to the generations that follow to put forth these facts. The world is watching and waiting for Senator Obama to do so."

"There are some one million HIV-infected people in the U.S., with an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year," said Dr. Laurence, Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell and Senior Scientific Consultant for Programs at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. "The majority of these patients are people of color, many of whom believe in these conspiracy theories. This is extremely harmful. For example, a recent study among African-American men found that those holding such beliefs were 40 percent less likely to use condoms to protect themselves from acquiring and spreading HIV."

"Just as Rev. Wright has effectively used his pulpit to foster mistrust of the thousands of researchers and health care professionals who have dedicated their lives to eradicating AIDS worldwide, Senator Obama should use his own high visibility to educate those at-risk of the dangers of such statements. Indeed," Laurence continued, "with no signs of a willingness by Rev. Wright to retract these inaccurate messages, Senator Obama must do so."

"Hundreds of physicians and health care professionals give dedicated care to patients with HIV/AIDS. Conspiracy theories undermine their efforts enormously. Senator Obama owes it to people at risk to tell the truth about how this disease is spread so that they can be responsible and protect themselves," said Ms. Liebert.

AIDS Patient Care and STDs, now in its 22nd year, is published monthly in print and online by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. http://www.liebertpub.com. The company also publishes AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses (http://www.liebertpub.com/aid).

Contact: Mary Ann Liebert, mliebert@liebertpub.com, 914 740-2121;

914 202-5465

Jeffrey Laurence, jlaurenc@med.cornell.edu, 212 746-2988


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SOURCE Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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