Earvin "Magic" Johnson And Abbott Announce Major Initiative On World Aids Day To Help Reduce New HIV/AIDS Infections Among African Americans

Magic johnsonAbbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation today announced the national launch of the "I Stand with Magic: Campaign to End Black AIDS" with a goal to help reduce new HIV infections in the African-American community by 50 percent over five years. Half of all new HIV infections in the United States are among African-Americans who represent only 15 percent of the overall population in the United States. The "I Stand With Magic" program addresses awareness, prevention and successful treatment of HIV in the African-American and other minority communities.

Starting today, World AIDS Day, community members will be encouraged to enroll at www.istandwithmagic.com, get tested for HIV and "stand" with Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Abbott in their fight against the HIV epidemic in the African-American community.

The rate of AIDS diagnoses for African Americans is approximately 10 times the rate of Caucasians and almost three times that of Hispanics. AIDS disproportionately affects African-American women, with a diagnosis rate 23 times that of Caucasian women. In 2002, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among African-American women between the ages of 24 and 54.

"With my partners at Abbott, I am proud to announce the launch of the 'I Stand with Magic' program to end black AIDS," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "I have seen the numbers of HIV infections continue to rise in the minority community and the time is now to take action in helping to lower those numbers. The 'I Stand with Magic' program encourages African Americans of all ages to stand with me and fight HIV/AIDS by getting tested, getting test results and encouraging at least four friends or family members to do the same."

Diagnosed with HIV 15 years ago, Johnson is now partnering with Abbott to share his story of hope and survival. Much has changed since Johnson's initial diagnosis, including advancements in testing, treatment and education. "I Stand With Magic" recognizes the advancements in HIV/AIDS and encourages empowerment and community action against the disease.

"Since Abbott joined the fight against HIV more than two decades ago, tremendous progress has been made. However, HIV is now having a disproportionate effect on the African-American community, which accounts for more than half of all new HIV infections," said Miles D. White, chairman and chief executive officer, Abbott. "Getting people tested is the first line of defense. Together, with Mr. Johnson, we hope to make a real, measurable difference and help change the course of this disease in the United States."

Kick-off events for "I Stand with Magic" today include a series of three HIV testing events in the Los Angeles area, where HIV rates are continually on the rise in the African-American community. Community members are encouraged not only to get tested but also to wait for the results of their rapid HIV tests. Other testing events this month in Philadelphia and New York will follow. Details will be available at http://www.istandwithmagic.com.

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 rise of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community. Through this partnership, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Abbott will create educational activities and testing events in cities with high HIV infection rates. The initiative has already embarked on a 10-city tour of schools and counseling centers across the nation to provide HIV testing, education, and additional resources for HIV positive individuals. For more information and to "Stand with Magic" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, visit http://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.

source - MedicalNewsToday