FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   June 25, 2012  

Charles R. Drew University Hosts Series of Outreach and Awareness Events Around National HIV Testing Day

Weeklong Series of Free HIV Testing and STD Screening Clinics Kicks Off with a $75K Grant Presentation from Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Los Angeles, CA- As part of National HIV Testing Day, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is hosting several events this week.  To kick off the week, Kaiser Permanente Southern California will present a $75,000 grant to CDU’s HIV/AIDS Education and Community Outreach Project. The grant will be used to enhance CDU’s educational outreach and HIV testing program in South Los Angeles targeting at risk sexually active youth and young adults. 

“Kaiser Permanente is recognized as a pioneer in research, treatment and education for patients living with HIV/AIDS. Since 2000, Kaiser Permanente Southern California has awarded more than $3 million in community benefit HIV/AIDS grants to organizations like Charles R. Drew University who have been recognized for their work in HIV/AIDS care and for prevention programs aimed at curtailing the increasing rates of HIV infection and AIDS," said William J. Towner, MD, the regional HIV/AIDS physician coordinator and medical director of Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s HIV/AIDS Research Trials (HART) Program. 

In addition to the grant, CDU, working in collaboration with the Magic Johnson Foundation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente Southern California, is offering free HIV rapid testing at Hooper’s Shell Gas Station in Los Angeles on Monday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 26 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. With an oral swab or finger stick, individuals can know their HIV status, and if HIV positive, can be immediately referred to local HIV/AIDS treatment clinics.

There are also free Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screenings for gonorrhea and chlamydia taking place on Tuesday, June 26. The first 200 attendees each day who stop by to take an HIV rapid test are given a $25.00 gift card to purchase gasoline at the Hooper’s Shell Gas Station.

Finally, on Wednesday June 27, CDU will offer testing and screenings at the Center for Public Health as part of the “Take the Test, Take Control” campaign. 

“It is through all of these partnerships and generous grants that we are able to reach and identify at-risk individuals who do not know their HIV status who, if HIV positive, we can link into care.” said Cynthia Davis, Program Director of the Charles Drew University HIV/AIDS Education and Community Outreach Projects. “We are grateful to all of our partners for their commitment to prevention-oriented health for our community.”

In the U.S., it is estimated that 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV infection and 1 of every 5 of these Americans do not know that they are HIV infected.  In Los Angeles County, with 10 million residents, the local health department estimates that there are approximately 62,800 people living with HIV/AIDS and of these, 13,500 are HIV positive and do not know their status. 

The National Association of People Living with AIDS initiated the first National HIV Testing Day in 1995 in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local HIV/AIDS service providers across the country.  Now in its 18th year, CDU and other HIV/AIDS service providers throughout Los Angeles County are honoring the day by offering free HIV rapid testing and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) screenings.  

Outside of Hollywood, Long Beach, and the Skid Row area of Los Angeles County, South Los Angeles has some of the highest rates of HIV as well as other common STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.  African American and Latina females, aged 15 to 24, residing in South Los Angeles, have the highest rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia infection in Los Angeles County.  When you are infected with an STD and are having unprotected sex with someone who is HIV infected, you are 3 to 5 times more likely to contract HIV.  Additionally, sexually active individuals, male or female, infected with STDs, which are untreated, can become infertile and/or sterile.  All STDs are 100% preventable.

 

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For more information, please contact:
 

Jessica Gelzer
jgelzer@griffinschein.com
323-892-2080 OR 818-399-4088

 
 

About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution.  Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals.  The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS.  Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the “best performer” in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians by the Greenlining Institute.  For more information, visit http://www.cdrewu.edu/ .

 
 

CHARLES R. DREW UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE AND SCIENCE
1731 East 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059
p 323 563 4987  f 323 563 5987  
www.cdrewu.edu

Pioneering in Health and Education