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For Release:
February 06, 2004

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner

New Jersey Celebrates HIV Awareness and Information Day


TRENTONNew Jersey is marking National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day on February 7 with special events around the state encouraging African-Americans to get tested and to get educated about HIV/AIDS in their communities, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is co-sponsoring events in Newark and Trenton on Friday, February 6, and in Atlantic City on Saturday, February 7. 

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic disproportionately impacts the African-American community and awareness programs play a vital role in combating this terrible disease,” Commissioner Lacy said.  “Community groups play an important role in talking to families and neighbors about the severity of this epidemic, and urging African-Americans to take care of their health.”    

In New Jersey and nationally, African-Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  African-Americans make up 13.6 percent of New Jersey’s population, but account for 56 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  Sixty-three percent of all women with HIV/AIDS are African American.  Black women constitute the state’s fastest growing population of HIV-positive people. African-American children account for more than 70 percent of New Jersey children with HIV/AIDS.

As a result, one in 66 African-Americans in New Jersey is now living with HIV/AIDS, compared with one in 850 white New Jerseyans.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day was created in 2001 by five national organizations known collectively as the Community Capacity Building Coalition, which is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The national mobilization effort urges African-Americans to “get educated, get tested, and get involved” with HIV/AIDS.  New Jersey’s planned events are as follows:

Newark – On February 6, the North Jersey AIDS Alliance, City of Newark and UMDNJ Medical School are sponsoring an event from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Medical School, 185 South Orange Ave., SSB 610 Lecture Room, Newark.  The event will include speakers, youth performances, poetry readings, a candlelight vigil and other activities – all with the theme of HIV/AIDS and the need for people in the community to take care of their health.

Trenton – On February 6, The New Jersey Human Development Corporation of Trenton is sponsoring an event from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the War Memorial building, West Lafayette Street, Trenton.  Speakers will include Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Black Ministers Council, who will give the keynote address.

Atlantic City – On February 7, the Atlantic City Health Department is sponsoring a health fair from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Stanley Holmes Village, Community Room.  The health fair will include screenings for a variety of health conditions, and the health department’s mobile van will be available to provide HIV counseling and testing.

As part of the ongoing effort to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in the African-American community, DHSS has created a public awareness campaign targeting African-American women and Latinas, minority men who have sex with men, and injection drug users.  The campaign includes television and radio commercials, as well as printed materials, and was developed with approximately $500,000 in federal funding.

The paid commercials are now airing on the Comcast and Cablevision cable systems, and are expected to reach 2.4 million households.  The advertisements are being shown on Black Entertainment Television, Galavision, MTV, and other shows to reach the target audience.   The 15-week campaign began in late November 2003 – just before World AIDS Day – and runs through February 15.

Anyone wishing to get tested for HIV may visit any of the 45 DHSS-funded counseling and testing sites statewide.  Call the Department’s HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-624-2377 for more information

For more information on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness and Information Day, visit or call 1-877-867-1446. For more information on DHSS programs, visit

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