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For Release:
November 30, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Nathan Rudy
609 984-7160

DHSS To Recognize Worlds AIDS Day At Trenton War Memorial


On World AIDS Day, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) will focus on addressing the impact of the AIDS pandemic on New Jersey with an expert panel and health fair at the Trenton War Memorial.  Rapid HIV testing will be offered during the health fair.


"HIV/AIDS is a significant problem globally and in New Jersey, and I am proud to work with so many dedicated partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said DHSS Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.  "Our combined efforts of prevention and treatment have significantly reduced the spread of HIV/AIDS in New Jersey, and dramatically reduced the illness and death rates."


World AIDS Day was first established in 1988 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus attention on the devastating impact HIV/AIDS has had throughout the world.  The theme for 2006 is "The Promise of Partnerships" in recognition of the global efforts by governments, health practitioners, community groups, religious organizations and businesses to work together on prevention and treatment to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.


The panel will be chaired by Nick Karabulut, M.D., Director of the Ryan White Title III HIV program co-located at the Capital Health Fuld campus in Trenton and a clinic in Ewing Township.  Commissioner Jacobs and other experts in public health HIV/AIDS programs will also participate.


The expert panel will run from 10 a.m. to noon on December 1, followed by a health fair where the Rapid HIV test will be available. Participating and sponsoring agencies include the Fuld and Mercer campuses of Capital Health System, the City of Trenton, St. Francis Medical Center, the Henry J. Austin Health Center, the Human Development Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline and various religious and community groups.


"The race and gender disparities with regard to HIV/AIDS in New Jersey and the United States are unacceptable, and the first step is to ensure everyone knows their HIV status," said Dr. Jacobs.  "DHSS is working with our partners in communities disproportionately hit by HIV/AIDS to encourage people to get a Rapid HIV test to learn their status, and get counseling and treatment if necessary."


Since DHSS and its partners launched the Rapid HIV testing program in 2004 more than 88,000 New Jerseyans have taken the test.  The free, publicly funded Rapid HIV test is available in 160 public counseling and testing sites around the state such as hospitals, clinics, community health centers, mobile vans, churches and local health departments.


The Rapid test is important in decreasing the spread of HIV because it overcomes a major obstacle in HIV testing. Getting the results in 20 minutes means people no longer have to wait one or two weeks and return to the testing site to receive their results.


Before Rapid HIV testing was available, 34 percent of test takers never returned to the testing site for the results.   With the Rapid HIV test, clients receive their results 99 percent of the time. 


Throughout the world, more than 40 million people live with HIV/AIDS and more than 25 million people have died since the syndrome was identified in 1981.  More than 8,000 people die from HIV/AIDS each day in this country, and 14,000 become infected.


New Jersey ranks fifth among the states with more than 45,000 cumulative cases since 1981, and has the highest percentage of women who have the disease.  While there has been great success in curbing new cases of pediatric AIDS, New Jersey ranks third in cumulative cases.  Sexual contact and intravenous drug use continue to be the primary causes of new infections.


Currently there are approximately 33,000 people living with HIV or AIDS in New Jersey, and more than 78 percent of these are African-American or Latino.



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