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Celebrities Join the Battle
Against Aids

 Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2006 09:05am EDT - PRESS RELEASE
   Source: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE WITH AIDS / BUSINESS WIRE
 
Actress Salma Hayek is one of many
celebrities joining the fight against AIDS
   

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 5, 2006--The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) announces a new roster of celebrity ambassadors - Salma Hayek, Dennis Haysbert, Nick Cannon, Laura Ceron, Judy Tenuta, and Cristina Saralegui - to urge Americans at risk for HIV to get tested and get their results on June 27th -- the 12th Annual National HIV Testing Day (www.hivtest.org) and the 25th anniversary year of the first diagnosis of HIV / AIDS.

In a series of nationally distributed television and radio public service announcements, popular screen actress Salma Hayek joins actor Dennis Haysbert, star of The Unit, multi-media mogul Nick Cannon, actress Laura Ceron (ER "nurse" Chuny Marquez), comedienne Judy Tenuta, and Latina talk show host Cristina Saralegui, to encourage people to get tested at HIV testing clinics on June 27, 2006. By lending their names and personal appeals in public service announcements and podcasts (links via: www.hivtest.org) to populations heavily impacted by HIV, these celebrities hope to generate response to NAPWA's National HIV Testing Day anthem: Take the Test, Take Control.

The latest estimates indicate that the total number of people with HIV was roughly one million at the end of 2003 (estimated range between 1,039,000 and 1,185,000). By race, 47 percent of people estimated to be living with HIV were black, 34 percent were white and 17 percent were Hispanic. Approximately one-fourth of people with HIV are believed to be unaware of their infection, underscoring the need for increased efforts to reach at-risk communities with HIV testing services.

NAPWA Director of Community Mobilization, Keith Folger, is excited about the potential impact of this year's ensemble of celebrities. The campaign will use television and radio PSA's, as well as podcasting and websites, to add a contemporary, fresh appeal. "We're working to create an informed society -- one that embraces personal responsibility for HIV testing," Folger explains. "Getting tested for HIV is quick and painless and with rapid tests now available, you can get results in just 20 minutes. The nation needs more people to listen to this message and get tested on June 27th."

Screen actress Hayek and a group of Latin American friends remind the Latino community about the importance of taking the test and taking control of your health. Haysbert, the first African-American and actor to be HIV tested on-screen, said, "I wanted to de-stigmatize HIV testing and prove how easy and painless it is."

Nick Cannon, the creator, director, producer and writer of MTV's number one hit show, Wild N' Out, was compelled to make a difference, "What's unacceptable is that a quarter of the people who have HIV don't know they have it, either because they haven't taken their HIV test or didn't get their results." Cristina Saralegui reprises her commitment to this project and is joined by new crusade ambassadors who each enjoy significant and loyal fan followings that transcend gender, race and age.

The formula of celebrity spokespersons was introduced in 2003 and proved highly effective: more then 285 million people across the United States were reached through public service messages and inquiries to the new HIVtest.org website soared by 1000%.

ABOUT NAPWA

Founded in 1983, the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) is the oldest national AIDS organization in the United States, and the oldest national network of people living with HIV / AIDS in the world. NAPWA advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV / AIDS in order to end the pandemic and the human suffering caused by HIV/AIDS. NAPWA has been, and continues to be, an essential voice in HIV / AIDS. The epidemic has changed over the past two decades and NAPWA has changed with it. HIV / AIDS has increasingly become a major health threat for African-Americans, the Latino community, women, youth and the poor and disenfranchised.

National HIV Testing Day

National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) - June 27th -- is a community mobilization and social marketing campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA). The goal of the campaign is to encourage individuals to take advantage of voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT), and prevention services, and to access medical care if they test HIV-positive. The success achieved by NHTD, over the past 11 years, is attributable largely to three cornerstone elements: a community mobilization design, a multi-entity collaborative approach, and the unique perspective of a national organization that advocates for HIV-positive individuals. Every year, thousands of health departments, community based organizations, private, educational and media entities, as well as concerned HIV-positive and affected individuals participate in NHTD events.

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