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Test for Life Campaign Screens Record Number of DC Residents for HIV/AIDS
Date:2/28/2008

More than 275 residents screened for HIV during three testing days in February

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the month of February, Test for Life worked with the Washington Wizards, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mayor Adrian Fenty and Verizon Washington, DC to offer free and confidential HIV testing to area residents on three separate days. During the events held at the Temple of Praise, Whitman-Walker and Us Helping Us clinics, a record number of over 275 residents were screened and now know their status which will help reduce the number of people infected and save lives.

"I am extremely encouraged by the number of District residents who came out to the screening events. It demonstrates an important step forward as communities become more proactive in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Gary Puckrein, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Minority Quality Forum. "While there is still much more knowledge to be shared and testing to be done, I am proud that community leaders and the groups involved have banded together to raise awareness and slow the spread of this epidemic."

The District has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country. According to a city health report released in November of 2007, one in 20 city residents is thought to have HIV and one in 50 residents are thought to have AIDS.

Through a generous donation from Verizon Washington, DC, the mayor and the Washington Wizards, featuring Antawn Jamison (http://www.nba.com/playerfile/antawn_jamison/index.html?nav=page), launched television and radio public service announcements to encourage HIV testing and to inform the public about the free and confidential HIV screening events. During the February 19 Wizards halftime show, Dr. Puckrein presented an award to the Washington Wizards and Verizon Washington, DC to recognize their support for the testing campaign and announced the record number of residents tested.

"Us Helping Us experienced a significant increase of residents coming in to get tested because of this coordinated effort," said Ken Pettigrew, Us Helping Us director of programs. "While we are constantly working to reach people to get them tested, the volume of interest during the February events is a testament to the commitment of those involved with this campaign."

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.

For press inquiries, please visit http://www.testforlife.org or 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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