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Nation’s oldest AIDS organization launches tool on World AIDS Day to reach new faces of HIV

News release from Gay Men's Health Crisis:

Gay Men’s Health Crisis Encourages People to “Fight AIDS. Love Life.”

New York, NY – December 1, 2009 – Today on World AIDS Day, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is reaffirming its commitment to continue helping diverse groups disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, including people struggling with crystal methamphetamine use.  GMHC is announcing an innovative, interactive crystal methamphetamine resource, www.MyMethLife.org, which aims to curb the rampant spread of this disease in this underserved community.  The organization is also launching a re-designed, easy-to-navigate Web site, www.GMHC.org, complete with new resources for people seeking HIV services such as testing, treatment, counseling, prevention education and other care.

Founded 27 years ago by New Yorkers responding to a mysterious disease, originally called Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID), GMHC along with the face of HIV and AIDS has changed.  The disease is now on the rise among heterosexuals, women, African Americans, Latinos and men who have sex with men (MSM).  Crystal methamphetamine use is also a contributing factor to the increasing rates of HIV. 

“GMHC has evolved throughout the years to provide essential services and cutting-edge resources to meet the varying needs of diverse people living with, and affected by, HIV and AIDS,” said Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, GMHC.  “World AIDS Day is an important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come in the fight, while also continuing to encourage everyone directly or indirectly affected by the disease in New York City and around the world to help ‘Fight AIDS. Love Life.’”

In addition to launching new HIV and AIDS resources, today in New York City, GMHC will be hosting a number of activities to commemorate people who have been lost to or are still living with HIV and AIDS.  The GMHC building has been transformed into a modern HIV installation with 10,000 magenta adhesive notes, each one representing 10 New Yorkers – or over 100,000 total – currently living with HIV and/or AIDS.  There will be a gathering and candlelight vigil in the evening, featuring speakers and performances by diverse groups including Vogue Evolution of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.”  Cosi® restaurants nationwide will also be contributing to the cause, donating a percentage of their World AIDS Day proceeds to GMHC.  For details and participating locations please visit: www.GetCosi.com

“I am one of the thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV and represented by GMHC’s art installation on this World AIDS Day,” said Kevin Beauchamp.  “I’m so grateful to GMHC and all the important services and resources they provide.  They are a lifeline for so many people.”

About HIV/AIDS:

More than one million Americans are living with HIV and/or AIDS – over 104,234 in New York City alone.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that every 9½ minutes (on average), someone in the United States is infected with HIV.  In 2008, the CDC developed new estimates for the annual number of HIV infections – which suggest about 56,300 new HIV infections occur each year – that’s 40 percent more than what was initially known.  In New York City, injection drug users account for approximately 20.5 percent of all persons living with HIV and/or AIDS but 36.9 percent of HIV/AIDS-related deaths.

About GMHC:

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS.  We provide prevention, treatment and care services to more than 15,000 men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City, and advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide.  GMHC’s mission is to fight to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected. 

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