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First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles Joins Pfizer Inc To Host 'Fighting HIV Through R&B', a Nationwide HIV Testing Initiative Offering Free R&B Tickets

First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles Joins Pfizer Inc To Host 'Fighting HIV Through R&B', a Nationwide HIV Testing Initiative Offering Free R&B Tickets

Published 09-16-03

Submitted by Pfizer, Inc.

NEW YORK,NY - First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles (FAME), the oldest black congregation in the city of Los Angeles, has joined forces with pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Inc, to host "Fighting HIV through R&B", a novel HIV testing program that offers free R&B concert tickets for those individuals who get tested for HIV. The program, launched nationwide last year, is available at participating community clinics and AIDS service organizations across the country.

On Tuesday September 16, 2003, the First AME in conjunction with Palms Residential Care Facility will be conducting HIV testing for the first 100 young people in the community, from 6-8 p.m. in a mobile van located outside the church facility. Individuals who get screened will be entered into a raffle to receive free concert tickets to see hip-hop artist, Bow Wow, scheduled to perform on September 20th at Universal Amphitheater.

Over the past 20 years, advances have been made in medications to treat HIV/AIDS. New highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) and the resulting decline in the number of newly reported AIDS cases and deaths, allowing individuals the opportunity to live longer and fuller lives.

Unfortunately, the availability of treatments to combat HIV/AIDS has led the public into a false sense of security, where the prevention of HIV transmission is no longer seen as a priority. As a result, despite the declining number of AIDS cases, the number of people living with HIV is on the rise, with disproportionate rates of infection among African-Africans, Latinos and heterosexual women.(1) This increased prevalence of HIV in these at risk populations clearly reinforces the need more than ever, for prevention efforts, like Pfizer's Fighting HIV through R&B campaign.

The support of historically black churches like First AME Church reinforces the need for programs such as Pfizer's Fighting HIV through R&B, that provide a unique environment whereby individuals can become educated about HIV and get tested without the stigma associated with the disease."

"The response of the last year's Fighting HIV through R&B program was overwhelming," said Deborah Wafer, Manager, Pfizer Inc. "Since the nationwide launch in 2002, the program has tested over 6,000 people, with approximately 200 of those individuals testing HIV-positive -- the youngest a 14-year-old girl in Seattle, the oldest a 58-year-old woman in Philadelphia."

Pfizer Inc discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines, for humans and animals, and many of the world's best-known consumer products.

For further information Pfizer Inc, please visit their website at www.pfizer.com http://www.pfizer.com .

For more information about the Fighting HIV through R&B program, dial toll free 1-888-VIRACEPT (847-2237) or visit www.viracept.com.

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/).

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Pfizer, Inc.

Pfizer, Inc.

Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. We discover and develop innovative medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. Through consistent, high-quality manufacturing and distribution operations, our medicines reach patients in 180 nations. We also partner with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality healthcare and health system support. At Pfizer, our colleagues work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.

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