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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  June 28, 2002


Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Marilyn Riley

New Jersey Releases New Video Against HIV/AIDS

TRENTON - The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has released a new video - "Sharing Help, Sharing Hope" - that shows how some minority communities can mobilize against HIV/AIDS.

The video highlights efforts in East Orange, Trenton and Atlantic City to raise AIDS awareness among African-Americans and Latinos, and link the efforts of a wide range of faith-based groups, health and social service organizations, advocacy groups and others. Free copies of the video are available for community groups to encourage similar efforts in other towns by calling 609-292-6962.

People at risk include those in groups disproportionately affected by HIV - including African-Americans, Latinos, injecting drug users and their partners, young adult men who have sex with other men, and women with multiple sex partners. Anyone concerned about his or her HIV status should seek counseling and testing.

"The HIV/AIDS epidemic has been devastating to the minority community," said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "Getting tested is a vital step anyone at risk can take right now. Earlier diagnosis means earlier medical treatment, which can prolong and improve the quality of life of people with HIV."

Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 20 years ago, about 60,000 New Jersey residents have been reported to have HIV/AIDS. While African-Americans account for only 13 percent of the state's population, nearly 60 percent of those diagnosed in recent years have been African-American. Latinos account for 13 percent of the population and 19 percent of new cases.

"Sharing Help, Sharing Hope" is a 12-minute video produced by the department's Office of Minority and Multicultural Health and New Jersey Network. The video was produced as part of a three-year, federally funded program to assess communities' needs in HIV prevention, develop linkages among local groups and traditional AIDS groups, and offer technical advice and training - in grant-writing and the use of technology, for example - so that non-traditional groups can get more involved in dealing with AIDS in minority communities.

Both East Orange and Trenton developed their own Sharing Networks with representatives from many community groups. In Atlantic City, most of the work has been done under the auspices of another department program, Project IMPACT (Intensive Mobilization to Promote AIDS Awareness through Community-Based Technologies).

"On their own, these community groups have done important work to improve the lives of those they serve," said Linda Holmes, Executive Director of the department's Office of Minority and Multicultural Health. "It has been exciting to provide a forum where these groups can come together, for the first time in many cases, and form partnerships that will benefit both the organizations and the community."

As part of the program, the department provided about $50,000 for a number of small projects. For example, East Orange and Trenton have developed their own web sites to share information and to post activities. In East Orange, teens serve as peer educators raising AIDS awareness among other teens. Educational workshops for church leaders and an HIV/AIDS resource directory are among other local projects.

For information on the nearest HIV testing and counseling site, call the New Jersey AIDS/STD Hotline at 1-800-624-2377. The Hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All counseling and testing sites use Ora-Sure for HIV testing, which is a simple, non-invasive oral procedure. A special swab is used between the cheek and gum to obtain a sample that is then tested for HIV antibodies.

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Listing of HIV testing and counseling Sites in New Jersey

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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