Submitted by Abbott
LOS ANGELES - December 3, 2007 - In conjunction with World AIDS Day, Cookie Johnson, the wife of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and Abbott are bringing the "I Stand With Magic" program to Los Angeles to educate the African-American community, specifically women, on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. The program aims to reduce new HIV infections among African Americans by half over five years. Cookie joins the "I Stand With Magic" program, which has a new emphasis: to urge women to get informed, tested and treated for HIV/AIDS and provide tools for prevention and testing.
Cookie is visiting Los Angeles as part of a three-city tour of "I Stand With Magic" events around World AIDS Day. HIV testing and celebrity concerts also are being held in Chicago and New York City to highlight the first-year results of the campaign and renewed efforts to reach African-American and other minority women.
At the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Cookie will be joined by leading HIV/AIDS clinicians from across the nation, who will provide the medical perspective on HIV/AIDS among minority women. A concert, featuring Mary Mary and the Soul Seekers, also will take place. Through these events, Cookie hopes to encourage women to "stand with Magic" and take control of their health by getting informed about the risks of HIV.
The "I Stand with Magic" program, a part of the "Campaign to End Black AIDS" (www.istandwithmagic.com), was announced December 1, 2006. Since its launch, the "I Stand With Magic" program has provided free HIV/AIDS testing to more than 21,000 Americans in 16 cities with large African-American populations. Additionally, the campaign has educated nearly 200,000 people with 70,000 enrolled in the campaign Web site, www.istandwithmagic.com. The campaign's emphasis is on African-American and other minority communities where new HIV infections are on the rise. Approximately half of the nearly 40,000 new AIDS diagnoses each year occur among African Americans, who represent just 13 percent of the population. Cumulatively, Los Angeles has had the second highest number of AIDS cases for major cities in the United States.
"When we first learned about Earvin's diagnosis we bonded together as a family to arm ourselves with education on HIV/AIDS," said Cookie. "I was determined that we would fight this disease together as a family. As the newest 'I Stand With Magic' program ambassador, I will encourage women in minority communities in America to get educated, tested and treated for HIV/AIDS throughout the next year. Today, I want to share what we learned about HIV/AIDS with others, especially women who might be going through a similar situation as my own."
HIV/AIDS in Los Angeles
Los Angeles ranked third among cities in the United States for the number of new AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004. Furthermore, Los Angeles had the highest number of AIDS cases in California, more than twice the number of any other county, in 2006. In 2005, 27 percent of AIDS diagnoses in Los Angeles were among African Americans.
HIV/AIDS in the United States
African Americans account for approximately half of the nearly 500,000 Americans estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS and have represented nearly 40 percent of all deaths among people with AIDS in the United States. The rate of AIDS diagnosis for black women is approximately 23 times the rate for white women and four times the rate for Hispanic women. Additionally, black women account for 66 percent of new AIDS cases among women.
About "I Stand with Magic"
Through the "I Stand with Magic" program, Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation are joining forces to address the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community by aiming to reduce the new HIV infection rate in half over five years. Through this partnership, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Abbott hold educational activities and testing events in cities with high HIV infection rates. In 2006, the initiative embarked on a 10-city tour of high schools and counseling centers across the nation to provide HIV testing, education and additional resources for HIV-positive individuals. In 2007, the campaign has visited almost 200 churches, high schools and colleges. For more information and to "stand with Magic" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, visit www.istandwithmagic.com.
About the Magic Johnson Foundation
The Magic Johnson Foundation was established in 1991 as a single-disease organization that works to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. The Foundation has since responded to the growing need to address all aspects of our youth's lives by expanding its mission. This expanded mission emphasizes the Foundation's focus on supporting community-based organizations and development programs that serve the health, educational and social needs of those residing in minority communities.
Abbott has been a leader in HIV/AIDS research since the early years of the epidemic. In 1985, the company developed the first licensed test to detect HIV antibodies in the blood and remains a leader in HIV diagnostics. Abbott retroviral and hepatitis tests are used to screen more than half of the world's donated blood supply. Abbott has developed two protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV.
Expanding on its scientific contributions, Abbott and Abbott Fund have invested more than $100 million in developing countries to improve the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS through programs targeting critical areas of need, including strengthening health care systems, supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS, and advancing HIV testing and treatment. For more information on Abbott's HIV/AIDS programs, please visit www.abbott.com/HIVAIDS and www.abbottglobalcare.org.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.
Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at www.abbott.com.
About Abbott and the Abbott Fund
The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information, visit www.abbottfund.org.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's website at www.abbott.com.
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