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PA Department of Health Recognizes 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day; Urges HIV Testing

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the Dec. 1 observance of World AIDS Day, Acting Secretary of Health Everette James today urged Pennsylvanians to be tested for HIV - the virus that causes AIDS. He also highlighted ongoing efforts to educate the public about the disease and how it is prevented.

"Our message is clear: regardless of your personal background, age, ethnicity or race, being tested for HIV is the only sure way to know your status and to protect your health," said James. "To effectively address HIV/AIDS in Pennsylvania, we are working to educate the public and ensure that prevention, testing, treatment, and counseling services are readily available across the state."

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the immune system and may be passed from person to person through the blood and some bodily fluids. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, and through breast-feeding.

Established by the World Health Organization and observed each year on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day aims to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. More than one million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS, with 56,000 new infections diagnosed each year -- one in four of which is among women. In Pennsylvania, 2,881 new HIV/AIDS cases were diagnosed and reported during 2007.

The Department of Health coordinates statewide HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs and administers activities through contracts with county and municipal health departments and other agencies. Through these programs, confidential HIV testing and counseling services are offered at locations across Pennsylvania. Some locations offer rapid HIV tests that can provide results in less than 30 minutes.

For more information about specific state programs and initiatives, visit

    CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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