HIV-AIDS AWARENESS

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BERGEN COUNTY OBSERVES WORLD AIDS DAY

Bergen County Executive Dennis McNerney and the County Department of Health Services observed World AIDS Day on December 3 at local high schools with programs that brought HIV/AIDS awareness to students. “Bergen County students are recognizing the severity of this pandemic and using this knowledge to make healthy life choices,” said McNerney. “Our youth should be commended for using World AIDS Day as an opportunity to honor those who have become infected or lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS.Students received valuable information on prevention through educational displays and an improvisational presentation performed by Reflections, a county-sponsored community outreach program for teenagers that presents improvised scenes based on issues that confront young people. World AIDS Day was established in 1988 by the World Health Organization in order to increase awareness, fight prejudice, and improve education regarding HIV/AIDS. The theme for World AIDS Day in 2007 and 2008 is “leadership”. It highlights the need for innovation, vision, and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. This campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities, and civil society organizations to take initiative and provide leadership on HIV/AIDS awareness. According to estimates by UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. As of December 31, 2006, there were 2,910 reported cases of HIV/AIDS in Bergen County. HIV/AIDS is one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history and has claimed an estimated 3.1 million lives, more than half have been children. Residents interested in free testing and counseling services are encouraged to contact the Bergen County Health Counseling Center at 201-487-3243. Residents can also log onto www.bergenhealth.org, or call 201-634-2704 for more information about HIV/AIDS.

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